Home » Governance » Govt Fails to Pay Teachers’ Bonuses

THE cash-strapped government has failed to pay teachers and other members of the civil service their bonuses this year due to poor inflows into the national treasury.

Speaking at a pre-budget meeting in Victoria Falls, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa assured legislators that civil servants would get their bonuses this year.

But that is a promise the treasury chief has failed to keep as government revenues are affected by a dwindling tax base in a struggling economy characterised by company closures.

Deputy labour minister Tongai Muzenda said the payments have been deferred to early January.

And the government-owned Sunday Mail newspaper helpfully added that the development would enable state workers to “beat the January disease”.

Civil servants are traditionally paid their bonuses in November to enable families to do their shopping ahead of the Christmas and New Year holidays but this year the payments were deferred to December.

But clearly fearing unrest and mutiny, the government only managed to pay members of the sensitive security services, outraging unions which represent teachers.

Muzenda urged the teachers not to panic.

“Teachers will be paid their bonuses in the first week of January 2015 together with other civil servants,” he told state media.

“We could have paid them in November or December, but the way they were paid was determined by cash inflows in the nation’s Treasury.

“There was no reflection of bonuses on the December pay notices, because there was a danger of them thinking that they would get their bonuses on the same day they get their salaries. There will be supplementary pay slips on bonuses.”

The Progressive Teachers’ Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has since warned that its members would not return to work in the new school term until they are paid their bonuses.

“To us this (failure to pay bonuses) is scandalous. It is a fraud,” the union said in a statement last week.

“A month ago (Finance) Minister Patrick Chinamasa, speaking in Victoria Falls, assured the nation that bonuses would be paid.

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

Chinamasa recently revealed that the civil service establishment was double the estimated figure of 250,000.

More than 80 percent of the national budget is gobbled by salaries and the finance minister has hinted at possible retrenchments in the New Year to bring the wage bill down.

Source : New Zimbabwe