FORMER Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T has called on the government to honour its obligation to civil servants, by paying last year’s bonuses as a matter of urgency and avert a potential crisis.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
In a statement yesterday, the MDC-T said President Robert Mugabe’s administration had consistently shown “insensitivity to the plight of its workers”.
“Thus, the issue of whether or not civil servants should be paid their annual bonuses for the year 2016 is certainly beyond debate. All civil servants deserve to be paid their 2016 annual bonuses as a matter of urgency,” spokesperson, Obert Gutu said, arguing the MDC-T was concerned by the welfare of government workers.
Government this week failed to convince civil servants to accept pieces of land in lieu of outstanding end-of-year bonuses. Reeling from a crippling cash crisis and debilitating economic crunch, government has had to stagger salary payments to its workers, leading to murmurs of discontent.
Gutu said Zimbabwean civil servants are among some of the lowest-paid workers in the country.
“As if the issue of low salaries was not enough suffering for our downtrodden civil servants, over the past year, they have been receiving their monthly salaries in a very haphazard and staggered fashion,” he said.
“As a result of this, the majority of civil servants are perpetually living in debt and thousands of them have been thrown out of their lodgings.
“The children of civil servants have not been spared from this humiliation and suffering since most of them are turned away from schools and tertiary colleges, as their parents and guardians are no longer guaranteed a regular and consistent monthly salary.”
The MDC-T added: “The Zanu PF regime is selfish, corrupt and insensitive. At a time when President Robert Mugabe and his family are enjoying an extended State-funded annual holiday in Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Dubai, our civil servants are scrounging for a living as their meagre monthly salaries are staggered and as their 2016 annual bonus remains unpaid.”
Mugabe has been holidaying since early December last year amid reports he is renting a $500 000 mansion in Dubai.
Gutu also accused Mugabe and his lieutenants of following “skewed policies”, adding civil servants should be paid “now”.