HARARE - Teachers have threatened to go on strike, if the government does not honour the backdated salary increment promise they committed to last month.
Raymond Majongwe, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary- general, told the Daily News yesterday that civil servants are still waiting for government to fulfil its pay promise, failure of which will culminate in a crippling strike.
He said: “We are very worried but we are not panicking because we do not want to be tempted to think we are being led by a government of crooks who speak with a forked tongue.
“As civil servants, we discussed with government and we know our salary increment is coming this month.
“Well, they have not paid the army but we are teachers and we are not paid from the same pocket as they (army) gets paid from — the Army Paying Records, while we are paid by Salary Service Bureau (SSB)."
“We are still hopeful but should they not honour their promise, I can tell you my friend, a crippling strike will ensue. “It remains an option and the doors are wide open for that.”
It was widely expected that government would award civil servants a pay increase but the uniformed forces whose pay date was yesterday have not received any increment, raising fears that the government is reneging on the promise it made last month.
Government and civil servants last month signed a pay increase deal that would see the least paid government worker getting a $79 salary increment.
This would have seen the lowest paid government employee (Grade B1) getting $375 up from $297, a month.
The increment, according to the deal, was supposed to take effect this month but backdated to last month.
Sifiso Ndlovu, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association chief executive expressed fear that government might have taken them down a garden path.
“There are indications that the government will not fulfil its promise. We are very worried about this and we demand that the government explain to us why it is indicating right and turning left,” Ndlovu said.
“This is a bad omen not only for civil servants but for the whole nation. This is a sad matter and the government must come forward and tell us what is happening.
“Only then, will we map the way forward.”
Nicholas Goche, the minister of Public Service, confirmed that government employees were supposed to receive their salaries reflecting the increment this month.
But he said he was not sure why the salaries had not been effected and promised to give a clear position after meeting with Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and the chairperson of the Public Service Commission Mariyawanda Nzuwa.
“We have said civil servants will receive their salaries this month backdated to January.
“I am not sure why it has not been effected. I will call you back after meeting with the minister of Finance,” Goche said.
His secretary said yesterday he was not in the office.