Civil servants plan to strike

HARARE - Temperatures are once again rising among restive civil servants, amid indications that they could embark on another nationwide strike as early as next week if the stone broke government does not pay them their July salaries soon.

While civil service union leaders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday were careful not to come across as spoiling for a fight with the State — ahead of the government’s expected announcement tomorrow of concrete pay dates for this month — they hinted that all hell could break loose if they were not paid on Monday.

This comes after Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira (pictured) announced on Tuesday that the government was hoping to provide its workers with specific July pay dates by the end of day tomorrow.

“We are still waiting for dates and the official dates will determine whatever we are going to do next,” the chairperson of the Apex Council, the umbrella body representing all civil servants, Cecilia Alexander, said.

But Zimbabwe Nurses Association secretary general, Enock Dongo, went a little further saying government workers wanted their July salaries on time.

“Maybe they will pay us on Monday ... so we are going for the meeting (tomorrow) first before we decide what to do after that. But for now what they should know is that we want our salaries for July in July and not later,” he warned.

However, there are serious doubts that President Robert Mugabe’s cash-strapped government will manage to pay all the civil servants their July salaries on time given its continuing reticence to announce concrete pay dates.

This has prompted former Finance minister Tendai Biti to say that the government has reached a fiscal dead end, and that it would be “a miracle” if it managed to raise enough money to pay all civil servants in full this month.

“When I was minister, we were paying close to $300 million every month to civil servants and then we had a functioning economy. I must say that this is the first time that this is happening since 1890 that the government is failing to pay workers.

“At the time that I was minister, there were about 336 000 workers, but now they (Zanu PF government) have more than 500 000 because they employed people ahead of the elections in 2013.

“We have a government that is terrible and this is causing dissatisfaction, and it’s creating anger all over. What Zanu PF has done is destabilise the State and Zanu PF is now our best lawyer to argue that this government has failed,” Biti told the Daily News.

In the meantime, Mugabe and under pressure Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa continue to blame targeted sanctions for the salary delays, much against both available evidence and public sentiment.

Military personnel who were hoping to be paid early this month were left bitterly disappointed last Thursday and Friday when they checked with their banks for their money — and to make matters worse, they have not been told when they will receive their remuneration for this month.

Worried analysts and opposition political parties say the government’s continued failure to pay its workers on time, particularly soldiers, could spark serious disturbances, including violent riots.

“Government’s failure to pay soldiers is a recipe for disaster. The military is the regime’s last line of defence and if they can’t meet their wages, it would be a serious failure which threatens national security.

“It’s a serious statement of State failure,” said United Kingdom-based academic and lawyer Alex Magaisa.

At the height of the biting food shortages and hyperinflation in 2008, a group of soldiers looted shops and confiscated foreign currency from street traders in Harare, as their anger boiled over amid the difficulties.

“The regime is living on borrowed time and its days are numbered. Every indication is pointing to a scenario in which the regime will, very soon, be completely incapable of paying salaries to its employees.

“The Zanu PF regime literally struggled to pay bonuses for civil servants in 2015 and there are now clear signs of an implosion in the national treasury as salary dates are being shifted each and every succeeding month.

“One doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to appreciate that both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will not advance any loans to a financially delinquent and politically illegitimate regime,” said MDC spokesperson Gutu said.

Earlier this month, teachers, nurses and doctors went on strike after the government also failed to pay them on time.

Amid all this, tension is rising in the country as fed up Zimbabweans join hands to demand change and an end to Mugabe and Zanu PF’s rule, which they say has been catastrophic.

Comments (23)

We have said this over and over again, that if civil servants still believe that the ZANU PF thugs government will pay them on time any time soon, then they are no better than the ZANU PF thugs themselves, who believed that diesel could come from a rock in Chinhoyi. They should get used to the fact that very soon, there will be no pay date to talk about. The ZANU PF thugs government is broke.

Zvichapera - 21 July 2016

Check it out, that is why you don't have more readers

Cry Blood - 21 July 2016

What can you expect from a broke government?

pride - 21 July 2016

striking is a workers right but i urge union leaders seek to legal advise esp with regards to right to resort to collective job action (section 104) of the labour act, otherwise we might see the return of the telone case. it would be prudent for the unions' membership to vote on the issue and if members decide to strike the leaders must mobilise funds for materials like t-shirts, banners, members' allowances etc before just disorderly going for industrial action lol.

strategist - 21 July 2016

The invisible man on my shoulder has a sneaky suspicion that the unaccounted 164000 ghost workers are the people you see mobilized for protests. E.G Green Bombers. These are the same people given police uniforms to go pretend to be riot police and do what they know best

Anthony Galtieri - 21 July 2016

Welcome. This is Judgement day. Let us Zimbabweans protest different this time.Instead of the ineffective stay aways and failed strikes. I have a plan to finally take me to the state house...Lets all march to the residences of army and police officers and remind them that we Zimbabweans are the government!

the successor - 21 July 2016

Mugabe must go. That's it.

Ziziharinanyanga - 21 July 2016

You can strike many times but you wont get your salaries bcoz thugs stole our 15bilion so forget about salaries and the only solution is to remove them from power that is permanent solution finish and klaa

Diibulaanyika - 21 July 2016

People should just stay put in their homes and avoid loitering so that the police or the army won't have anyone to provoke.They should only go out of their houses only after their demands have been met.Total shutdown and no outside demos until the regime succumbs.Thats the only peaceful and effective way of kicking out this cruel regime.Demos should not be on and off,they should just be done once and for all.

Janana wa Bikaz - 21 July 2016

Strikes are recognised and respected by EU governments.Not in Africa.This is what Arab yuths realised ,when they resorted to burning themselves.Im not saying yu shuld do the same.engage yo leaders.

viola gwena - 21 July 2016

Maybe if yu consider other ways ,like "if we are not payed no government minister flies out of the country.if a yone flies out yu all stay home until he flies back .that culd be effective bcoz our ministers love flying out n staying in hotels.save all that money.

viola gwena - 21 July 2016

Anyone who is still believing something positive is to come is mad. Even the youth who marched in support of Mugabe yesterday have to know it is useless supporting a useless leader. What evidence is required to prove a leader has failed to run a nation when civil servants do not get paid. Where is the government going to get money to pay for the construction of houses on the stands being dished out to the youths. It is high time for the youths to accept the reality. Let us watch what is going to happen in Zimbawe.

mbwembwe - 21 July 2016

and this is the reason the idea of introducing bond notes in the economy cannot be cast aside. because the alternative is not available. withbond notes in circulation salaries will be paid 2-3months in advance. hence the popular sentiments "theseproblems are only temporal" come October please take your bond notes and get back to work

gatsheni - 21 July 2016

Bond notes must come now.

viola gwena - 21 July 2016

the small boys and girls (youths) think they will sell the zvidhuura zvemastands to those that are daft kkkkkkk

wekunyombwe - 21 July 2016

Civil servants are dragging their feet, they keep threatening to strike but never do. There is not turning point in Zimbabwe, we are at the precipe, no going back just let it all hang.. strike stay-away, and let this thing take its own course.

gudo - 21 July 2016

Wheels are off. Natural death of zanu pf government. Opposition should refuse another GNU. Zanu pf was suppose to collapse in 2008. There is no escape this time,

X-MAN IV - 21 July 2016

I think a peaceful protest march whenever any govt official leaves the country is a good idea. It will be a "save the money" campaign. @viola welcome to terra firma, remember these are your ministers & govt, some of us have been trying to remove the lice from 1999.

Sagitarr - 22 July 2016

Dr Alarmist! Roger confirm! Pay dates: 25, 27, 29 Jul, 6 Aug. U wrote nonsense!. Thank u!

First Confirm - 22 July 2016

Bhora mughedhe or back pass mughedhe.ndiyo iripo kusvika zanu yatiziva macomrades.Yu chase our chairman ,strip him his ministry,and yu think we can just watch n sing.bulldust.This time hakuna bhora mudondo ,backpass mugedhe,own goal.Tipembere tese navanhu.

viola gwena - 22 July 2016

we want Gwena at statehouse to clear the chuff now

warvetzipa - 22 July 2016

If Mugabe fails to feed his dogs who guard him, they they will feed on him.

Ziziharinanyanga - 22 July 2016

Bhora musango is the real deal Viola. There is nothing to loose here. Mugabe scored own goal. Enough is enough.

Chimbwido Warvet - 23 July 2016

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