Felex Share Senior Reporter—
Civil servants’ representatives yesterday said they were finalising consultations on the $100 advance payment offered by Government amid indications that the majority of workers had rejected the proposal.Government on Monday met civil servants’ unions and offered them $100 for transport while they awaited their June salaries to be paid in a fortnight. The employer offered to pay the advance payment by Friday, but civil servants said they would give their position today after consulting their membership.
Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they were finalising consultations to make a determination. “Unions are still on the ground and it is only after their compilations that the Apex Council will sit down and come up with a position,” she said. “Our position will be informed by the input from the unions and tomorrow (today) everything will be clear on which route we will be taking.”
Government, which is facing cash flow challenges, has managed to pay members of the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe while police and prison officers will get their dues tomorrow. Teachers will get their salaries on July 7 while health workers and the rest of the civil service will be paid on July 14.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu, said their members “were ready for anything.” “We are in the middle of consultations, people are very angry and we don’t know how to control them,” he said.
“It looks like they are ready for anything and what is coming out clear is that when Government came for that meeting they had a position and they are processing the money. What is coming out is anger and we have to manage that anger such that it is not converted into something else. My fear is that Government may shut down if we are not careful. It does not need to be handled with arrogance.”
Zimbabwe Rural Teachers Union national spokesperson Mr Gibson Mushangu, said for rural workers, the $100 would be eroded by expenses. “Members are saying the money will be spent on transport other than taking care of their welfare,” he said.
“To access that money it means travelling to withdraw it and on arrival at the bank one might even fail to get it. So they are saying come last day of the month we won’t be able to go to work.”
Said Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe: “People are arguing that if we start off like this, it will continue like this forever. Workers want their lump sum for food, rentals and other liabilities. They are saying Government should come back to the table with a better offer or they go on strike.”
Government is rationalising the civil service to cut on its wage bill which stands at $200 million per month translating to more than 80 percent of revenue collected. The rationalisation exercise is expected to save $400 million annually.