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Unpaid Zimbabwe Civil Servants Set to Go On Strike

FILE: Some members of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association. (Photo: ZIMTA)
FILE: Some members of the Zimbabwe Teachers Association. (Photo: ZIMTA)

Unpaid Zimbabwean civil servants have resolved to go on an indefinite strike following the government’s failure to pay them June salaries as a result of lack of funds.

Cecilia Alexander, chairperson the of the Apex Council, a body that represents all civil servants unions, told journalists after a meeting of head of unions that they will be meeting government representatives Saturday to make a decision on the format of the industrial action.

“We are saying the employer must urgently address the concerns of the workers failure to which the workers have resolved to take action starting Tuesday 5th July onwards,” said Alexander.

Alexander said all the 14 civil servants unions, including doctors and all workers in the health sector, were unanimous that government is treating them unfairly by not paying them on time.

President Robert Mugabe’s government failed to pay the civil servants citing lack of funds resulting from the current harsh economic environment in the country. Indications are that members of the armed forces have received their pay.

The rest of the civil service is set to get June salaries next week. On Friday government made an advance payment of $100 to each civil servant to cushion them while they wait for the salaries next month.

Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe member Alois Bimha from Gokwe told Studio 7 he was disappointed about the government’s failure to pay civil servants their June salaries.

“This is not the way we are supposed to be treated. We are adults, we have got families, we have got budgets. The government has got no obligation to budget for us. I have to receive my full salary then I make my own budget. We cannot continue like this because from the precedence at the end we are going to have a situation where a teacher will be owed thousands of dollars,” Bimha said.

Acting Public Service Minister, Supa Mandiwanzira, told Studio 7 by phone that government is doing all it can to ensure that its workers are paid on committed dates.

He said the current predicament is as a result of the financial crisis that has not only affected government but also the private sector where some workers have gone for months without pay.

Minister Mandiwanzira appealed to civil servants and other stakeholders to bear with the government as it makes efforts to rectify the situation.

About 83 percent of the government’s $4 billion budget goes towards civil servants’ salaries.

It has started to weed out ghost workers and rationalize the civil service in order to cut employment costs.

Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, told Zimbabwe’s European creditors yesterday that his government was broke.