BY EVERSON MUSHAVA
CIVIL servants have chided Finance minister Mthuli Ncube for saying he will pay them full bonuses in November at a time impoverished government workers desperately need a salary review to be able to survive.
Ncube this week revealed that unlike other years when bonuses were staggered, government would pay all its workers their bonuses at once. He was addressing a mid-term budget review event hosted by Alpha Media Holdings in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Economics Society on Monday.
But Apex Council, an umbrella body for all civil service labour unions, said bonuses were their entitlement and what they need now was an upwards review of
their salaries to be able to survive.
“While in our considered view, bonus is an entitlement and thus needs not be touted, the priority right now is the urgent need to restore the seriously eroded
value of incomes,” David Dzatsunga, spokesperson of the union said.
Government workers have been clamouring for salary reviews since last year and teachers have threatened a crippling strike at the beginning of the third term
should government fail to adjust their salaries during the holiday.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “Mthuli Ncube never ceases to surprise us and is fast revealing that he is a human
epidemic. Teachers are currently hungry, angry and incapacitated. The priority is to ensure that teachers are capacitated as of now, and that a lasting solution is found to the erosion of the purchasing value of their salaries or starvation wages.”
He added: “It his Mthuli Ncube’s warped neo-liberal policies that have caused great poverty and penury among the teaching fraternity. Indeed, Ncube’s
austerity measures are a prescription that treats the disease by killing the patient. It has ensured prosperity for elites and immiseration, disarticulation
and marginalisation of teachers.”
He further charged that Ncube’s immediate challenge should be to address the plight of government workers, particularly teachers and ensure that they manage to
go to their homes when schools close, let alone be capacitated to open schools for third term.
“His misconceptions and outright lies that teachers are happy are analytically unproductive, vogue and vacuous. He must be reminded that he has virtually destroyed Zimbabwean economy, ruined the lives of teachers, in particular, and Zimbabweans in general.
“He has unilaterally added his name to a number of teachers’ enemies by his reckless statements and misplaced priorities that are tantamount to cold and
calculated education vandalism. He must just shut up if he has nothing to offer than insult teachers.
“How will the teachers get to November without addressing the erosion of the purchasing power of their salaries? It remains a mystery how he thinks teachers
would continue to go to work. This is a language which teachers must address by embarking on industrial action with effect from the beginning of third term,”
Buhera South MP Joseph Chinotimba on Tuesday urged government to walk the talk on civil servants.
“Minister, we have an event that happened when we removed the United States dollar converting to the mono currency system that we have. We did not address the
issue of salaries of our workers. The workers’ salaries were left at the rate of 1:1 yet the money was from US$1 to ZWL$3,50. We did not convert it to the
equivalent of the $3,50 that was at the interbank rate,” Chinotimba said.
“I am saying this because we are also representatives of the workers. The workers are not getting any money. It is not sufficient for them. It should have
been equated to the interbank rate.”