CIVIL servants have demanded formal communication from the Government to assure them that they will receive their traditional annual bonuses and that there will be no reduction of salaries and allowances.
This follows a statement by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Christopher Mushohwe on Tuesday assuring Government workers that they would receive their salaries, allowances and annual bonuses as usual.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa announced in the Mid Term Fiscal Policy Review statement that civil servants’ bonuses would be suspended for two years, while their salaries and allowances would be reduced as part of measures to bring the economy back on track.
The Apex Council welcomed Minister Mushohwe’s assurance but demanded formal communication between the Government and the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC).
“The Apex Council rejects the statement by Minister Chinamasa as it was issued without due consultation with the workers. While the Apex Council accepts the retraction by the Minister Mushohwe, it’s our view that such a retraction should be communicated officially to the NJNC.
“The Apex Council holds every minister collectively responsible for the insensitive, impoverishing and unilateral proposals presented by Minister Chinamasa,” said Apex Council president Mrs Cecilia Alexander, after a meeting among unions representing civil servants yesterday.
She said the Apex Council also rejects the civil service audit report, as referred to by Minister Chinamasa.
“The civil service audit report was crafted, adopted and implemented without due consultations. The Apex Council expects the NJNC meeting set for Friday to clear the air on the Government’s position with regards to the pronouncements made in the Mid Term Fiscal Review Statement,” said Mrs Alexander.
She emphasised that the Apex Council was nonpartisan and disowns any statement by anyone that makes reference to the legality or illegality of the mandate of the current government and State President.
Public Service Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira could not be reached for comment yesterday.
In the statement presented in Parliament, Minister Chinamasa said Government had embarked on a civil service restructuring exercise, which included a reduction in employment numbers.
He said the Government would 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.
The Minister added that there would be 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.
Minister Chinamasa said fiscal space remained tight as revenues consistently underperformed while expenditure continued to outstrip targets. 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 2016.
On Tuesday Minister Mushohwe said: “For the record, the above proposals were tabled before Cabinet by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development on July 12, 2016 as part of cost-cutting measures to facilitate economic recovery.
“After extensive deliberations, cost-cutting measures relating to the civil service were rejected and the position of Cabinet is that the Minister of Finance and Economic Development did not take into account the rejection by Cabinet earlier on. Once again, at the last Cabinet meeting of 12 September, 2016 the proposals were rejected.
“The President and Cabinet want to assure the civil servants, the farmers and the public at large that these proposed measures are not friendly operative. It is hoped that this clarification puts to rest anxieties that may have arisen within civil service, the farming community and the public at large.”