Teachers in Zimbabwe will not be amused by an announcement that they will only get their salaries after Christmas on the 28th of December as the cash strapped Zanu PF government prioritised paying members of the armed forces early.
The only silver lining is that for the first time since May this year, teachers will be paid within the month worked on December 28.
Members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, Air Force of Zimbabwe and nurses will be paid on December 21.
The rest of the civil service will be paid on January 3 followed by pensioners on January 6.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said despite low revenue inflows, Government would pay most of its workers before December 25.
“We have managed to bring most of the workers to December 21 and we know most of them wanted to get paid before Christmas but this is the best the employer could do considering revenue challenges being faced,” she said.
“We have managed to pay teachers within the month worked and it is our hope that in the next few months everything will be back to normal. We value the service given by our workers and as such we will always work out on modalities to ensure their conditions of service are improved from time to time.”
She said announcements on modalities on payment of the 2016 bonuses would be made in due course. Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary general Mr Enock Dongo described the development as “good news for the nurses”.
“This is commendable on the part of Government but we appeal to the employer to try by all means to pay everyone before Christmas,” he said.
“Christmas comes once in a year and this is a time to celebrate. How is it possible for us to celebrate while others have no money? It is our hope that Government will realise the sensitivity of the matter and pay everyone before December 25.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said: “We have received the confirmation that teachers would have a postponed Christmas and this is not a good message from the employer.
“But we have recognised that finally Government has committed itself to paying the salaries within the month worked and we will get into the New Year better off than last year.
“This is a great improvement because it is not good that the salaries are paid when people are anxious. When you are anxious you become unstable and this brings in some measure of insecurity, which is not good for service delivery. It is saddening that Government is silent on the bonus issue.”
The workers last week wrote to Government requesting for dates for bonus payment.
Government sources have indicated that given the challenges the employer is facing in mobilising resources to pay salaries, payment of the 13th cheque will likely be staggered as was the case last year.
Some workers got paid their 2015 bonuses mid this year.
President Mugabe has assured the workers that despite the low revenue inflows, Government will still pay its workers bonuses as per tradition. Government is working on non-monetary incentives to improve the working conditions of its workers. The Herald