Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) Statement On Unpaid Bonuses

The Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) notes the announcement coming from the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Patrick Chinamasa, that civil servants bonuses which were due in November 2015 will be paid starting in February 2016 stretching to May 2016. This is welcome progress but we still wait for actual dates to be pronounced and the use of proper channels in communicating this government position.While this position that Minister Chinamasa is announcing comes as sweet news to the long suffering government workers and is also a serious climb down by government which had earlier in the year declared that ‘bonuses were not a priority.’

After this insulting declaration from government, RTUZ gave the government up to the 15th of February 2016 to sort out its mess and give bonus dates or else the union would mobilize its members and other civil servants to pour into the streets of Bulawayo and Harare demanding that those that have failed must just ship out.

Hence Chinamasa’s climb down and subsequent unveiling of bonus dates is a clear victory for the union. RTUZ is however not naïve and until the bonuses are in our accounts we will remain vigilant and on stand-by to ensure that the government honours its pledge.

It must also be understood that there still a number of outstanding challenges confronting teachers and government workers in general.

Firstly the issue of the unilateral 7.5% pension deduction which the government imposed via the 2016 national budget is out of order. The government workers are still earning far below the poverty datum line hence the scheme cannot be introduced now as it will leave the workers worse off given the meager salaries they are earning.

More importantly, the pension management framework needs to be agreed on by the government workers and the government itself. Thousands of workers had their pension savings eroded when the Zim-dollar was dumped amid hyperinflation.

Corruption is also rife in the management of these pensions and there is need for a transparent and real time remittance and accounting system which will guard against abuse of the funds. As it stands no one knows where the funds are being remitted if at all. This is unacceptable and RTUZ reiterates that this scheme be stopped forthwith.

The secondly the unilateral cancellation of vacation leave for teachers is a gross violation of workers’ rights as guaranteed in section 65 of the constitution and also section 68 which guarantees the right to administrative justice.

For the government to unilaterally cancel a condition of service which was part of the employees’ contract midway into the agreement is the hallmark of unfair labour practices and as a union we will be taking this case to the Constitutional Court for redress.

If these two critical matters are not addressed with the urgency they deserve the union will turn to the streets to push this government, as we have done before, to respect its workers. Meanwhile RTUZ is consulting with its members on whether or not to take to the streets on the 26th of February 2016 if the 7.5% deductions continue. – Source-Rural Teachers Union Of Zimbabwe (RTUZ)

Leave a Comment