Civil servants yesterday demanded formal communication from the Government assuring them that they will receive their traditional annual bonuses and that their salaries will not be slashed.
This follows a statement by Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe, assuring the Government workers that they would receive their salaries, allowances and annual bonuses as usual.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa had announced in his Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review statement last Thursday that civil servants’ bonuses would be suspended for two years, while their salaries and allowances would be reduced by between 5 and 20 percent as part of measures to get the economy back on track.
The Apex Council — a body bringing together civil servants unions — yesterday met and welcomed Minister Mushohwe’s statement, but demanded formal communication from the employer.
“The Apex Council rejects the statement by Minister Chinamasa as it was without due consultation with the workers,” said Apex Council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander. Council accepts the retraction by Minister Mushohwe.
“It’s our view that such a retraction should be communicated officially to the National Joint Negotiating Council. The Apex Council holds every minister collectively responsible for the insensitive, impoverishing and unilateral proposals presented by Minister Chinamasa.
The civil service audit report was crafted, adopted and implemented without due consultations,” Mrs Alexander said.
“The Apex Council expects the NJNC meeting set for Friday to clear the air on the Government’s position regarding to the pronouncements made in the Mid-Term Fiscal Review Statement,”
The Apex Council, she said, was non-partisan and disowned any statement by anyone that made reference to the legality or illegality of the mandate of the current government and President.
Minister Chinamasa said, Government had embarked on a civil service restructuring exercise, which included a reduction in employment numbers.
The Finance Minister added that Government would also rationalise the number of embassies and consulates, review class travel arrangements of all officials including ministers, parliamentarians, independent commissions and authorities and State enterprises’ officials and a reduction in foreign allowances.
The measures were expected to reduce employment costs to around 60 percent of total revenues by 2019 from the current 97 percent and ultimately redirect revenue towards capital expenditure, which was expected to stimulate production.
He said Government would continue with rationalisation and realignment measures already approved by Cabinet, which would reduce the baseline public employment costs by around $118 million by end of the year