GOVERNMENT has reportedly postponed payment of teachers’ bonuses until after Christmas amid reports that Treasury was struggling to raise funds for the wage bill, NewsDay has learnt.
EVERSON MUSHAVA,CHIEF REPORTER
It emerged last night that government would first pay salaries on December 13, while the 13th cheque would be paid in the last week of December.
Teachers’ unions’ leaders yesterday confirmed their members had been unsettled by reports that government could no longer afford bonus payments hardly a month after soldiers received their 13th cheque.
The teachers’ unions have written to Public Service minister Nicholas Goche demanding clarity on the bonuses issue.
Although no comment could be obtained from Goche, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu told NewsDay: “We cannot deny or confirm the rumour. We have written to Minister Goche today (yesterday) demanding clarification on the matter. We cannot continue to rely on rumours. We need to know if we are receiving the bonuses or not.”
Ndlovu said it would be sad if government failed to pay bonuses to the remainder of the public service.
“They promised and they should deliver. They have given bonuses to soldiers and police officers and if they do not give us, they will be breeding a problem for our labour relations in future. In fact, it will be a travesty of justice. They (government) cannot work on scenarios without consulting the affected people.”
Ndlovu said he was surprised why government had not given them the “token increments” it promised before and soon after the July 31 harmonised elections.
He accused government of lame excuses to “knock them off balance” and ignore their plight in the long run.
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Manuel Nyawo said: “I hear they (government) want to pay teachers bonuses on December 27. It would be a shock coming for the first time in Zimbabwean history that civil servants get bonuses separate from their salaries.
“It will defeat the whole purpose of paying bonuses because they are meant to be enjoyed during the Christmas holidays. We are very worried, and even worried that government had promised to increase salaries before December and this has not been done.
“Government should come out in the open that they do not want to give us the bonuses and token increment.”
Goche recently said he was unable to award civil servants salary increments because the power wrangles for control of the civil servants’ umbrella body, Apex Council, made it impossible for him to negotiate with government workers.
But, Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe accused government of stage-managing the fights at the Apex Council to block salary increments for civil servants.
He, however, said he was optimistic that government would honour its pledge.
“They promised and they will pay,” he said.