Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government and civil servants’ representatives yesterday reached a deadlock over pay dates, with the employer maintaining that June salary payments will spill into next month owing to poor revenue inflows.
However, the workers remained adamant saying their June salaries should be paid within this month as they had obligations like bank loans and rentals to meet.
The parties agreed to convene again on Monday to map the way forward after “consulting their relevant constituencies.”
This emerged from a meeting the civil servants’ representatives had with three Cabinet ministers, Civil Service Commission officials and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya.
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The three ministers who attended the meeting were Patrick Chinamasa (Finance and Economic Development), Prisca Mupfumira (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare) and Dr David Parirenyatwa (Health and Child Care).
Addressing journalists after the meeting, Minister Mupfumira said the parties had been “frank and sincere” with their positions.
“We had a good meeting and consultations,” she said.
“We have come up with certain decisions, which we are going to consult our various constituencies. The unions are going to consult their constituencies and we will also be consulting. As such, we have resolved to meet on Monday at 4:30pm to map the way forward together.”
Minister Mupfumira added: “People have been sincere and frank with their positions, but what we have resolved is that we are going to have regular consultations in future, on a quarterly basis, just to discuss pertinent issues. We have discussed and agreed that there is need for a workshop with the RBZ governor so that we know what is happening as far as monetary issues are concerned.
“We agreed that we need transparency, honesty and trust in all our deliberations. We also resolved that we need to involve and engage the Apex Council in the budgetary process and this will be done,” said Minister Mupfumira.
According to the new pay dates proposed by Government last week, teachers and nurses will be paid on July 7 and 14, respectively.
Members of the uniformed forces will get their salaries between June 27 and June 30.
Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecelia Alexander, said they were not turning back on their position.
She said Government had taken them through the challenges they were facing in mobilising resources, but shifting pay dates was “unacceptable”.
“They have promised to rectify this postponement of salaries in July, which means that they are committing to pay July salaries within that month but for this month they said they are not able to change the dates,” Mrs Alexander said.
“As workers, we have remained with the position that we have been sent with our members and we say that salaries should be paid on the due traditional dates. We still hold on to that position, and we are going back to consult, and after consulting we are going to sit again with Government on Monday.”
She added: “Our reasons for making this demand are there are penalties that we will incur as a result of late payment of salaries, which penalties will be our liability as workers. By the end of the month, our transport allowance will be spent and we will not be able to travel to and from work. We also face the prospect of being evicted from our rented accommodation.”
On releasing the new 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.