Zimbabwe Civil Servants Unhappy with Divided Bonus Amid Economic Woes

Teachers and Nurses Express Frustration Over Divided Bonus Amidst Inflation

by Adenike Adeodun

Civil servants in Zimbabwe are expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s decision to split the payment of their annual bonus into two parts, citing their already modest salaries. This discontent comes amid demands for a one-time bonus payment in both foreign and local currencies.

State workers have begun receiving part of their bonus, with the remaining portion expected next month. However, this approach has not met their expectations for financial relief.

Obert Masaraure, President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe, points out that the current bonus is significantly lower than what teachers received in 2017. “Before the 2017 coup, teachers’ bonuses were not less than US$520, amounting to 100% of their gross income. Today, the 100% gross income bonus falls short of the pre-coup earnings,” he said.

Masaraure emphasized the lack of substantial relief for educators due to the split payment. “You can’t retain the US$150 received this month and wait for the next payment. The bonus brings little relief,” he added, highlighting the ongoing crisis of teacher incapacitation and low morale.

Enock Dongo, President of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association, echoed similar concerns. “Nurses received their bonuses in US dollars, but the amount is insufficient. We urge the government to provide full bonuses, as planning with such a meagre salary is challenging,” Dongo stated.

In contrast, Cecilia Alexander, Chairperson of the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, noted some satisfaction among civil servants. “There’s been improvement this year. All workers are treated equally, unlike in the past. Also, a significant portion of the bonus is in US dollars, which is less affected by inflation. We acknowledge the government’s responsible actions this year,” Alexander commented.

Attempts to reach July Moyo, Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, for comment were unsuccessful.

According to a report by Newsday, the Zimbabwean government has, in recent years, staggered the 13th cheque payments due to financial constraints. This has led to ongoing disputes between the government and civil servants over salaries and working conditions, with workers advocating for a minimum salary of US$540, akin to the pre-October 2018 levels.

The situation highlights the broader economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, where inflation and currency instability continue to affect the livelihoods of its public sector workers. The split bonus payment, while a governmental effort to manage fiscal constraints, underscores the need for more sustainable solutions to address the economic hardships faced by civil servants in Zimbabwe.

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