Tendai Mugabe, Harare Bureau
THE Government yesterday offered its workers three payment options for 2016 bonuses and another meeting with civil servants’ representatives has been scheduled for February 20 to finalise the payment matrix.
The three options are residential stands, a cash stipend coupled with non-monetary benefits and property investment bonds.
The workers’ representatives rejected all the three options.
At their previous meeting with their employer, civil servants rejected the stands for bonus offer demanding cash.
At yesterday’s meeting with unions, Government was represented by Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya.
Minister Mupfumira said the meeting was fruitful.
“I must say we had a very fruitful discussion where Government presented some options to the workers’ representatives. They are going to consult further on the various options which have been given by Government. We will also be consulting further. We have resolved that we meet again for the final way forward on the 20th of February to hopefully conclude the discussions,” she said.
“I am not in a position to share with you what I shared with the stakeholders and they are going to take it up with their members.”
But the unions were furious, accusing Government of being insincere.
Apex council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander said: “The purpose of the meeting was to discuss about the bonus issue. In fact it was a meeting that was held to try and find solutions through dialogue. The Minister of Finance presented the state of the economy to us, the problems that the economy is facing and also brought with him three options on the way they propose to pay bonuses. We are going to look at those three options and we are going further and consult our members then we will come back on the follow up meeting on the 20th of February.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Raymond Majongwe said all the proposals by Government were rejected.
He said civil servants want bonus in cash.
Mr Majongwe described meetings with Government as “cosmetic engagements” to buy time especially on the bonus issue.
“As far as we are concerned as Apex council, Government should own up and make sure that they pay what they are supposed to pay. Why must we be held until February 20? It is a matter of urgency and it has to be addressed now because the moment we get to February we will be told that we will have another meeting in April and so at the end of the day it will kill our own processes.
“As far as we are concerned, there is no compromise. We are not going to accept anybody who comes to us telling us that we will give you bonus later, no. We want our bonuses as it is defined. Bonus means financial reward. We do not want to be called to a meeting where we are told about a list of Government debts and expenditures. That has nothing to do with us.”
As unions, Mr Majongwe said, they were able to negotiate for residential stands for their members with local authorities.
“The issue of stands that they are talking about must be a choice for those who are interested in them and in any case who said we cannot negotiate on behalf of our members to get land for those who want land like we negotiate for funeral policies?
“So why do Government suddenly want to be a third party in the process that can be bilateral between unions and local authorities? What we want is our money and when it is coming. Give us the dates and we tell our members.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Robson Chireya said: “We were expecting Government to give us bonus dates. We want cash bonuses and we were surprised that Government is coming with other options of paying bonuses. The first option was the offer of residential stands, the second option was an offer of property investment bonds and the third was a half cash payment and a non-monetary benefit.”
Article Source: The Chronicle