Government yesterday met civil servants’ representatives and assured them that it will furnish them with the actual July pay dates by next week, allaying fears that the employer might fail to pay them.The employer’s representatives told the National Joint Negotiating Council — a platform that brings together Government and civil servants unions to the negotiating table — that mobilisation of resources had been intensified and dates would be unveiled in the next few days.
This comes as the employer denied claims that it was threatening civil servants who took part in a three-day industrial action last week. Government asked the workers’ unions to bring forward names of workstations where alleged victimisation took place.
Speaking after the meeting, Apex Council team leader Mrs Cecilia Alexander said constant communication between the two parties would restore workers’ confidence in the employer. “The issue of the July salaries was on top of the agenda, and the agreement was that by next week, Government would provide us with the dates, and we will communicate that to our members,” she said.
“Government also told us that it did not issue a statement, neither is it in a position to punish those who took part in last week’s strike over June salary delays. It seems it was just the work of some overzealous individual who wanted to maximise on the
situation. We have agreed that unions compile lists of those who have been victimised and submit to Government for redress.” Teachers and nurses received their June salaries on July 7 and 8 respectively, while the rest of the civil service gets paid on Thursday.
The salary delays, which Government attributed to cash flow challenges, prompted the workers to call for a three-day industrial action, which was immediately called off when Government honoured its obligations on teachers and nurses.
The development dealt a huge blow to shadowy groups and opposition political parties that wanted to capitalise on the plight of the workers to cause civil unrest in the country. The workers refused to take to the streets as called for by the anti-Government organisations resulting in the failure of the planned stay away.
Mrs Alexander said there was need for Government to bring forward the pay date for pensioners, which has been pegged on July 19. “They are a vulnerable group, which is usually paid last,” she said.
“These are the people who have contributed to the country, and most of them need medication as and when they need it. We should not take advantage that they do not speak out.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundane said availability of pay dates would stabilise the civil service. “It is important for Government to plan in advance and allay any fears or anxiety among workers,” he said.
“Focus should not be on salary dates, but service delivery, and we hope the dates will bring stability. Another area of concern has been resolved, and we are taking back to them any cases where salaries could have been ceased or workers were vicitimised. It was not their fault to embark on a strike as they were incapacitated to report for duty.”
College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga added: “The meeting was progressive, and we wait for the July salaries as promised. To avoid any disturbances, Government should honour its word such that we pacify our members. This rebuilds the trust, which appeared to have been lost along the way.”
Government is spending nearly $200 million every month on salaries, a development that is not sustainable. As such, a rationalisation exercise of the civil service is underway to rectify the anomaly.