Felex Share, Harare Bureau
A HIGH-powered Government team today meets civil servants’ representatives to come up with a position on the workers’ 2016 annual bonus.
The Government team includes Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira and Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Dr John Mangudya.
Minister Mupfumira yesterday confirmed the meeting.
“We are meeting as key stakeholders to see how this issue (of bonuses) can be solved once and for all in a win-win manner,” she said.
“We want the workers to appreciate Government position and see how we can accommodate each other. With everyone present, we will definitely map the way forward that is come up with a position.”
In an invitation letter to the workers, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka said the meeting would also focus on other welfare issues.
“The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the welfare of civil servants including the outstanding 2016 annual bonus,” reads part of the letter.
“Accordingly, the Apex Council representatives are invited to the meeting. May you also kindly extend this invitation to unions that are not represented in the National Joint Negotiating Council. The meeting will be held on the 25th of January 2017 at 1100hrs in the 11th floor boardroom, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) building.”
Government recently proposed to give the workers residential stands in place of the bonuses.
The civil servants declined the offer insisting on being paid in cash.
The workers argued that the offer had “come too late” as the 13th cheque was due. They said they would consider the stands offer next year.
Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said they wanted a concrete position with regards to bonuses.
“We are meeting with one thing in mind that is we want a clear position on how the bonuses will be paid,” she said.
“The bonuses are due and we have refused to entertain any other form of payment which is not cash. The issue of stands will be considered when they are serviced and ready to be parcelled out. We want workers to focus on service delivery and this can only be done when they know how their bonus money will be paid.”
She went on:
“The good thing about today’s meeting is we are meeting everyone who is involved on this issue and certainly a determination has to be made. The President of the nation has assured us that bonuses should be paid and we expect no one to go against the directive.”
Government, which is in the process of paying January salaries, has been facing challenges in mobilising money.
Given the challenges, payment of the 2016 bonuses is likely to be staggered as was the case last year.
Some workers got paid their 2015 bonuses mid this year.
President Mugabe has assured the workers that despite the low revenue inflows, Government would still pay bonuses as per tradition. In the face of resource challenges, Government is rationalising its workforce with strategies being implemented expected to save about $400 million annually.
Civil servants salaries chew about $200 million every month.
Article Source: The Chronicle