Govt’s bonus split sparks anger among Zimbabwe’s civil servants


Civil Servants Unhappy with Split Payment of Annual Bonus

Government employees in Zimbabwe have expressed their dissatisfaction with the decision to split the payment of their annual bonus into two instalments, citing the insignificance of the arrangement in light of their meagre salaries.

The civil servants have been demanding a one-time payment of their bonus in both foreign and local currency, asserting that the current structure fails to meet their financial needs.

The State workers have already begun receiving a portion of their bonus, with the remainder expected to be disbursed next month. However, the divided payment has sparked discontent among the employees, particularly in light of the economic challenges they face.

Obert Masaraure, the president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, highlighted that the current bonus falls far short of what teachers used to receive in 2017. Prior to the military coup that took place that year, teachers were entitled to bonuses amounting to no less than US$520, equivalent to 100% of their gross income. The present bonus structure, in comparison, pales in comparison to the pre-2017 standards, leaving educators disgruntled.

Masaraure emphasized that the split payment offers no respite to educators, as they are unable to fully utilize the initial instalment of US$150 while awaiting the subsequent US-dollar payment next month. The inadequate bonus exacerbates the ongoing incapacitation crisis faced by teachers and further dampens their morale.

Echoing these sentiments, Enock Dongo, president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, expressed dissatisfaction with the size of the bonus. Although nurses received their bonuses in US dollars, the amount proved insufficient. Dongo urged the government to provide full bonuses, underlining the difficulties in planning and making ends meet with the current meagre salary.

In contrast, Cecilia Alexander, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, offered a more positive perspective, stating that civil servants were content with the current arrangement. Alexander commended the government for treating all workers equally and ensuring that the majority of the bonus is paid in US dollars, thereby mitigating the impact of inflation on their income. She acknowledged the government’s responsible approach this year in contrast to previous instances where some sectors received their bonuses earlier than others.

In recent years, the Zimbabwean government has faced financial constraints leading to staggered payments of the 13th cheque. The ongoing disputes between the government and civil servants over salary and working conditions have further exacerbated tensions, with workers demanding a minimum salary of US$540.

As the challenges persist, civil servants in Zimbabwe continue to grapple with the economic realities and anxiously await a resolution that addresses their grievances and improves their working conditions.

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