A RURAL teachers’ union has threatened strike action in a fortnight over government’s failure to pay the 2016 bonuses.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) secretary-general, Robson Chere told Southern Eye the union has notified their employer, the Civil Service Commission (PSC), about the impending job action.
“We wrote to the PSC yesterday (Monday) notifying them of the strike and whether they respond or not, we are engaging in an industrial action to demand our bonus. It is our right to demonstrate. The bonus is our right,” he said.
“Please note that Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, a duly registered union in terms of the law, is notifying your office of its intention to embark on strike for the failure of the Public Service Commission as the employer to give dates for the bonus.
“The strike action will commence 14 days after confirmation of receipt of this letter,” the letter read.
The government last week offered housing stands in lieu of outstanding bonuses, citing financial challenges, but the proposal was rejected by the Apex Council, a body representing civil servants.
As the economy continues to decline, the government, in the past few years, was forced to stagger salary as well as bonus payments. Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has twice burnt his fingers after audaciously proposing to suspend bonuses as well as salary increments for a period of two years, only to be overruled by President Robert Mugabe.
In a statement last week, the Apex Council said it was shocked by the government’s proposal to offer civil servants housing stands.
“After inundating us with meaningless income and expenditure figures, obviously designed to court our sympathy and wanting us to appreciate the predicament the country is in economically and, therefore, implying that they are broke, Finance minister Chinamasa offered distribution of serviced stands in lieu of bonus.
“Despite government’s spirited attempt to hoodwink and manipulate us, we flatly rejected all their proposals and instead demanded to be given a payment date for our bonuses,” the civil servants body said.