HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has pledged a surprise US$200 bonus top up for civil servants in an apparent bid to charm the country’s restive public workforce while putting one foot into his 2023 re-election campaign.
Zimbabwe’s civil servants, who have led harsh relations with their stubborn employer, are this year receiving an additional US dollar denominated wages under the so-christened presidential bonus.
The surprise windfall is ostensibly to cushion them from inflationary pressures, reports say.
The presidential bonus will be paid on top of the conventional 13th cheque already promised to the workers.
David Dzatsunga, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Public Sector Trade Unions told Zimlive that the latest additional incentive was offered at the Monday National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting bringing together government and public sector union representatives.
According to the communiqué released at the end of the NJNC meeting, an additional US$200 will be paid to every government employee as a special presidential bonus.
“The President intervened because we then realised that the bonuses were not going to be quite meaningful without that US$200 and also to clarify that the presidential bonus will be paid in two tranches; half of that will be paid this month and the other half will be paid next month. This was done to make sure that everybody gets their money.
“So we are getting $200 plus a bit of what we were supposed to get as a bonus.
“You find that the lowest paid civil servant will get a bonus of $250 and then it goes up to about $347 for the upper grade. Naturally workers were appreciative of the extra money,” said Dzatsunga.
Under pressure from unions, the government on Monday scrapped its controversial plan to pay performance-based bonuses to civil servants, a departure from the past practice of paying a uniform 13th cheque to public sector workers.
The government however agreed to pay the bonus over two months, with half of the bonus payment set to be effected alongside November salaries, and the other in December.