Unions reject the Mugabe government’s offer to substitute cash bonus with land
Harare — On Monday, Zimbabwe’s government agreed to pay outstanding cash bonuses, bringing an end to a brief sit-in protest by public workers, according to union leaders and a government minister.
“The issue that we were clamouring for, which is the cash payment of bonuses, has been accepted,” said Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.
Doctors called off a three-week strike on Sunday after government approved increased allowances and created 250 new jobs, the same day President Robert Mugabe returned from medical leave in Singapore.
Public service unions said the 2016 bonuses would be staggered, starting with the army, doctors and nurses being paid in April, police in May and teachers in June.
Prisca Mupfumira, the public service and labour minister, confirmed the bonus agreement with the unions.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has previously said the government requires $180m for bonuses.
Zimbabwe had not paid public servants a bonus due to a lack of funds. An offer to substitute the bonus with land was rejected by unions.
Earlier on Monday, there were indications that the sit-in was not being adhered to everywhere. At the government registry in capital Harare, officials were issuing passports and birth certificates as normal, while teachers taught lessons at schools in the city centre.
Last July government operations were brought to a halt after a public-sector strike coincided with a stay-at-home rallying call by social media groups.