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DESPITE treasury promises that government would, this week, pay civil servants a “13th cheque”, unions claimed Wednesday that the administration had only paid the bonus to the security services, raising the ire of teachers.

The teachers condemned the “scandalous” decision adding that “if the government does not pay bonuses then the annual shut down must continue and no schools will open in 2015”.

According to a statement released by the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) late Wednesday evening, civil servants’ December pay notices did not reflect a bonus would be paid.

Read the PTUZ statement: “Information coming from our SSB (Salary Service Bureau government paymaster) sources is suggesting that pay-slips for December do not reflect that there will be bonuses this year.

“To us this is scandalous. It is a fraud. A month ago Minister Patrick Chinamasa (Finance Minister), speaking in Victoria Falls, assured the nation that bonuses would be paid.”

Further infuriating PTUZ was treasury’s decision to pay bonuses to the security services, the “governing elite’s blue-eyed boys”.

“To make matters worse, government paid bonuses to the uniformed forces last month. The same uniformed forces are getting paid ahead of us tomorrow. Is this justice?

“We have no gripe with these uniformed forces but it should be noted that we all work for the same government. Do they think we will take this lying down? Obviously not!” the union charged.

Chinamasa is reported to have promised to pay the “13th cheque” despite the fact that government had collected much less revenue than had been projected.

PTUZ demanded respect for its members by the government, threatening a continued shut-down of the country’s education system in the coming school-term.

“Surely we have a legitimate expectation to be paid our bonuses by the employer. We must be treated with respect,” the organisation said.

“Without being alarmist, if the government does not pay bonuses then the annual shut down must continue and no schools will open in 2015.

“We are talking of a government that for the whole of 2014 promised us non-monetary incentives, they promised salary reviews and better conditions of service yet everything remained a pie in the sky.”

The group added: “If the attitude by the deputy Minister of Health Paul Chimedza is anything to go by government is spoiling for a fight with its workers.

“To Chimedza we say ‘hands off the doctors’ salaries, usatambe nemoto iwe (do not play with fire).

“Chimedza, deal with your political shenanigans and fight for your own political skin rather than fight the people’s cause. Your actions simply show you are anti-people true government leaders don’t behave like that.

“If this is a joke, it is joke in very bad taste. It would be a scandal for government to turn around and say they have no money when they have paid a certain fraction of their workforce.”

Chimedza reportedly issued a garnishee order on doctors who did not report for work during a near month-long industrial action by junior medical personnel, a decision roundly condemned by the medics.

Source : New Zimbabwe