The Apex Council, an umbrella body that represents all civil servant unions in the country, has implored government to urgently remit workers’ union fees, medical aid and pension contributions for the month of February to avert a crisis in terms of social services.
BY PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
Following a meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) held last week, Apex Council chairperson Richard Gundani told NewsDay yesterday that they had impressed upon government the need to urgently remit the contributions to the relevant authorities.
“What happens naturally is that when these deductions, including union fees, are not paid, the organisations can’t function all because they largely depend on contributions by members to execute their mandate,” Gundani said.
He said if that “lifeline” was cut off, unions would not be able to fulfil their financial commitments such as paying their staff salaries and their creditors.
He said although government had been experiencing delays in paying the statutory payments over the past few months, this had been the longest period of delay to date.
“We are currently engaging government as part of a process of impressing upon them to look into the matter urgently so that they pay now because the delay has been too long,” he said.
In a letter written to the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) membership, the association’s chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said government had admitted that it was working with a thin resource base and was, therefore, failing to meet all employment costs and obligations.
“Government was mobilising salaries through credit and was only able to raise net salaries, meaning statutory obligations medical insurances, pensions, etc, are in arrears,” Ndlovu said.
“This means the economy is indicating its inability to carry the current salary bill.”
The workers, however, rejected government’s position.
Government has been battling to sustain its wage bill, which has been gobbling the bulk of its revenue. The wage bill, expected to absorb 81% of government’s $4 billion 2015 National Budget, has been a major issue among calls for reforms.
Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has proposed trimming the bloated civil service to reduce the wage bill.