Civil servants taken for a ride

CIVIL servants yesterday said they felt betrayed by the Zanu PF government after it failed to honour its unsolicited promise to pay them a “token” salary increment by year-end.

VENERANDA LANGA
SENIOR REPORTER

President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF promised to improve the welfare of all government employees after July 31 elections, blaming the poor remuneration on former Finance minister Tendai Biti of the MDC-T.

Public Service minister Nicholas Goche buttressed Mugabe’s promise by saying government workers would receive a “token” increment before year-end, but he now claims that power wrangles in the workers’ unions have affected negotiations and delayed the increments.

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said the unions feared there might be no increment by January as Parliament was on recess and had not yet passed the 2014 budget.

Civil servants get their salaries by mid-month and Parliament only resumes sitting after their January salaries would have been paid.

“The promise by Mugabe was unsolicited and was not necessarily demanded or asked for and those pronouncements are tantamount to policy.

“It is high time the implementers, the Public Service Commission (PSC), pursued and found a logical conclusion to the promises,” Ndlovu said.

“However, when we enquired about it on December 24, it seemed the government representatives did not have a clue or an answer on the issue.”

Ndlovu said after Mugabe’s pronouncements at his inauguration, the PSC had insinuated it was looking for resources to honour the promise, but later went mum about the issue leaving civil servants’ unions in limbo.

“When a proclamation is made at the highest level, there is no going back and we want to hold that office responsible for what it has he said.

“They need to implement that, albeit late because it is already late.

“I am also doubtful that there will be any increment by January because during the discussions we recently had, there were no indications that it would be awarded.”

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said civil servants never bargained for the promised token payments and
were disappointed by non-implementation.

“That is one of our greatest disappointments of 2013 because we never bargained for that token as unions and it was a directive from Mugabe that he would make sure by the end of December civil servants would have got the increment. It was an offer and so government should have given us what it was ordered to give us,” he said.

He said Mugabe’s remarks were a highly political statement which should have been brought to fruition by December.

“We are now into December and no one is saying anything about that offer.

“During recent meetings at the level of the National Joint Negotiation Council, nothing was said. How can we deal with 2014 salary increments when we have unfinished business for 2013?

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