HARARE - Financial constraints have forced government to change the pay dates for civil servants, Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira has said, amid a furore among government workers.
Police officers who used to get paid after teachers are now getting their salaries earlier.
This comes amid complaints by some civil servants that government seemed to favour uniformed forces when it comes to remuneration.
A new pay schedule indicates that soldiers and police officers would receive their salaries first ahead of nurses and teachers.
Mupfumira told the Daily News at the weekend that it was only prudent to have civil servants paid sector by sector, starting with those with less numbers.
“Staggering pay dates for employees has been the norm and government has considered numbers of personnel in each sector considering the rate at which it can mobilise resources,” Mupfumira said, adding that “whatever the case, all of them get their salaries after every four weeks”.
“Historically, pay dates have always been structured as such without problems. Government adheres to the principle of equality and impartiality henceforth does not favour any group of its employees but treats them equally.”
Without any balance of payment support and starved of foreign credit, Zimbabwe’s budget is funded 100 percent from tax collections and most of it goes towards salaries, leaving no money for infrastructure.
Unions representing civil servants including the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Teachers Association as well as others who make the Apex Council, said they have opposed the new plan to no avail.
“We protested against the clear bias in favour of the military and we were advised changing the cycle would create confusion but having reported this to the members, we now ask our structures to debate and give us guidance,” PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe said in a statement after their meeting with government.
Last month, soldiers got their salaries on the 16th, followed by the police and prison officers who got their salaries on the 20th, while teachers got paid on the 27th, with the rest of the civil service only getting paid last Friday.
“Last year, we got our bonuses after Christmas, soldiers got theirs before. This year, we got our salaries after Christmas, soldiers got theirs before and now we are supposed to be paid after they and their police counterparts have been paid, how do you explain that?” Majongwe queried.