Anger as govt fails to announce July pay dates

HARARE - The cash-strapped Zimbabwean government has set itself on a warpath with civil servants after it failed to announce July pay dates yesterday.

Speaking to the Daily News after the civil servants unions meeting with the government, Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said the meeting was inconclusive on the issue of pay dates.

Alexander said they are still waiting to see what the government will do before they decide on the way forward.

“The government promised us that they will give us the pay dates at the end of this week. We are not really happy by today’s (yesterday) outcome,” Alexander said.

“We cannot pre-empt the way forward. We are going to wait and see what government says then we will decide the way forward, as you can see there are only a few days left before the end of the week.”

Alexander said during the meeting, they also raised concerns on the unfair treatment of pensioners and the rest of the civil servants. Pensioners are yet to get their June salaries.

Civil servants embarked on a strike that crippled the functions of schools and hospitals last week, after the government delayed paying them their June salaries.

The situation shook the ruling Zanu PF government to the core, resulting in it making a U-turn on the payment of salaries for health workers, who received their money on July 8 instead of July 14.

From Harare to Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo, Kwekwe, Beitbridge, Bindura, Chipinge and other smaller towns, all the major urban areas resembled haunted ghost towns as Zimbabweans heeded the social media-driven call to shut down the country for the day.

Even the normally bustling Mbare marketplace in the capital had an eerie feel to it.

Many businesses, including banks and large retail shops — particularly in high density suburbs — also closed their doors for the day, with very few commuter omnibuses on the roads to ferry travellers.

As it stands, the government is struggling to raise salaries for civil servants. According to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, the current civil service wage bill chews more than 80 percent of government’s revenues and stands at a staggering $260 million.

This has left the government in a dire and unsustainable capacity to perform effectively.

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