Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday offered civil servants $100 advance pay for transport to work as they await their June salaries to be paid in a fortnight.
The arrangement excludes members of the security sector including the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe who were paid yesterday, while the police and prison officers will get their dues on Thursday. Government yesterday met the workers’ representatives and gave the $100 option after long deliberations.
The workers said they would consult their membership and inform Government on whether or not to accept the offer.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the $100 would be paid by Friday.
She was accompanied by Ministers (Finance and Economic Development) Patrick Chinamasa, Supa Mandiwanzira (Information Communication Technology Postal and Courier Services), Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya and Civil Service Commission officials.
Said Minister Mupfumira: “During the consultations, the representatives of the civil servants noted the challenges we said we were facing as Government. However, they did put to us that although they were willing to come to work, they cannot come because they will not have money to take them to and from work.
“After deliberations, Government offered to pay $100 as an advance payment by Friday this week to alleviate the problems so that they are able to go to work. The workers are going to consult, but we think this is the best position at the moment, what Government can afford and we hope to improve in the future subject to availability of funds.”
Teachers are expected to be paid on July 7 with health workers and the rest of the civil service getting their dues on July 14.
Minister Mupfumira said Government would abide by the initial salary dates announced last week: “Today, we have paid certain security sectors, and we are also going to pay the police and prison workers on the 30th of June and we maintain the same dates for teachers, health workers and the rest of the civil service,” she said.
“Another consideration, which was resolved was realising that the health sector is a critical sector, and we are going to ensure from July onwards we prioritise payment of health workers. We also discussed and agreed that there is need for further consultations and workshops to educate each other on economic issues. Workshops are going to be organised for the rest of Zimbabweans to understand the goings on.”
Minister Mupfumira added: “We have also agreed through the RBZ Governor that we will encourage the use of plastic money with effect from July 1, and the use of the multi-currency systems such that the banks are able to use all the other currencies which are allowed in the country.”
Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecilia Alexander said while they understood Government’s position, the way forward would be mapped by their membership.
“We came back with the same position that workers will be incapacitated to report for duty if salaries are not paid on the traditional due dates,” she said.
“We are saying the economic burden should not be put on the shoulder of the workers, hence, we requested Government to look at the welfare of their workers from June 30 to July 14.
“We had a long discussion with Government and at the end, the employer came up with a stop-gap measure to say they will pay every civil servant $100 in their bank accounts to enable them to go to work. Now we are going back to the workers to consult. We are only representatives and we are going to consult on whether or not they accept that. We will come back to Government probably tomorrow (today) afternoon, considering the urgency of the matter.”
On shifting the pay dates, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development cited cash flow challenges as the reasons for not paying salaries on time.
Government is paying nearly $200 million every month towards salaries which is more than 80 percent of revenue collected.
To rectify the anomaly, Government has embarked on a rationalisation exercise in the civil service to cut the costs in a move that will see $400 million being saved annually.