Pamela Shumba Bulawayo Bureau
CIVIL servants’ leaders will tomorrow meet to discuss and take an official position that will be presented to the Government following its decision to cut salaries and suspend the payment of bonuses for two years. Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa last Thursday announced that Government would suspend civil servants bonuses for two years as well as reduce their salaries and allowances as part of measures to bring the economy back on track.
The minister made the announcement while presenting the Mid-Year Fiscal Policy Review statement in the National Assembly. Zimbabwe Teachers Association (zimta) president Mr Richard Gundane said they would meet as civil servants’ representatives to come up with a formal position following the Government’s decision.
“The general sentiment is that the decision by the Government is unacceptable, but we need to meet as workers to come up with an official position that will be presented to the employer.
“We have to make it clear to the Government that we’re not accepting their decision to cut jobs, salaries and allowances for civil servants,” said Mr Gundane. He said the payment of the 13th cheque was guaranteed in the civil servant’s contract of employment hence it could not be withdrawn without consulting them.
Apex Council secretary Mr David Dzatsunga said Government should have engaged them before announcing the pay cuts. “There was no communication between the Government and its workers over this issue.
“The Government did not consult us. “It was an ambush on our part and we’ll not accept it. “We’re therefore meeting on Wednesday as civil servants to discuss the way forward and come up with an official position on the issue,” said Mr Dzatsunga.
He said the Government’s policy comes at a time when employees are already struggling due to poor remuneration. Minister Chinamasa said the Government would downsize the civil service from 298 000 to 273 000 employees.
The measures are expected to reduce employment costs to around 60 percent of total revenues by 2019 from the current 97 percent and ultimately redirect revenue towards capital expenditure which is expected to stimulate production. Minister Chinamasa said through its raft of measures to reduce the wage bill, the Government expects to save around $118 million by the end of 2016.