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Proposed Retrenchment of State Workers Angers Civil Servants

FILE: Striking civil servants attending a rally in Harare last Friday.

Civil servants in Zimbabwe say the government has not yet informed them about its intentions to cut the work force.

Richard Gundani, who sits in the apex council which negotiates salaries and conditions of service with the government on behalf of civil servants, told VOA Studio 7 state workers have been reading about retrenchments reports in newspapers.

“They have not communicated this formally to the representatives of the workers and through the Joint Negotiating Council. So as the Apex Council we are only getting this by reading newspapers,” he said.

Gundani said civil servants were once informed that the government won’t trim the workforce under the current harsh economic conditions in the country.

Labour and Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira was not available for comment as she was not responding to calls made to her mobile phone.

There are more than 500,000 state employees in Zimbabwe, almost double the number of those that were in the unity government between 2009 and 2013.

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Some of them are believed to be what is now known as ghost workers. A team of state officials is currently visiting schools where they are trying to flush out ghost workers.

The majority of these ghost workers are said to be in the Ministry of Youth, which has over the years absorbed trainees of the feared national youth service.