Pamela Shumba, Senior Reporter
THE government has once again assured civil servants that they will get their 2015 bonuses as outlined by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Patrick Chinamasa last week.
The assurance was made at a National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting between the Apex Council and the government in Harare on Wednesday.
The meeting came at a time when the Apex Council has elected new leadership and a new team of negotiators with Cecilia Alexander taking over from Richard Gundane as the Apex Council president.
Minister Chinamasa last week announced that members of the Defence Forces who include the Zimbawe National Army and the Airforce of Zimbabwe would get their bonuses this month followed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services.
He said the health sector would be paid in March.The education sector, which has the highest number of employees in government, will get their bonuses in April while the rest of the civil service and grant aided institutions would be paid in May.
Outgoing Apex Council president Richard Gundane, who remains in the negotiating team, yesterday said the meeting was encouraging after the NJNC government team led by Simon Masanga reaffirmed the bonus payment dates, with members of the Defence Forces expected to get their 13th cheques on February 15.
“The meeting basically confirmed the information that came from the finance ministry last week.
The government’s representatives, however, only confirmed that the first batch of civil servants would be paid on February 15 and insisted that they are not in a position to give the exact dates for the rest of the civil servants.
“It’s encouraging to know that implementation of the payment of bonuses has started. Although we would have wanted the civil servants to be paid at once, this is an acceptable arrangement and we now await the payments,” said Gundane.
He said the announcement of dates well in advance was important to the government workers as it helps them plan ahead.
Gundane said the meeting also focused on rationalisation in the civil service, adding that the Apex Council requested another day to discuss the important subject.
Anxiety has gripped civil servants who have constantly demanded that the government announces the dates when the bonus will be paid.
Last year, the government staggered the bonuses due to cash flow challenges and some workers received their 13th cheque as late as January instead of the traditional November.
Last month, the government had to change pay dates for its workers with the last batch of civil servants getting their salaries on January 5.
Meanwhile, the Apex Council also elected Enock Paradzai as the vice president, David Dzatsunga as the council’s secretary while Emelda Mhoriro is the new vice secretary.