Oliver Kazunga Senior Business Reporter
THE Salary Service Bureau (SSB) has come under fire from civil servants unions over its alleged failure to remit stop order payments for government workers despite deducting their money.
Thousands of civil servants have stop order arrangements with different creditors that include medical aid societies, insurers and clothing outlets.
Civil servants unions yesterday said SSB, the government’s department responsible for paying civil servants, had not been remitting stop order payments since March this year.
“We’ve had this predicament since March where the government through SSB hasn’t been remitting the money it is deducting from our members. It’s not only the creditors that’ve been affected but the insurers and medical aid funders,” Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu said.
“It’s a problem that we’ve been pushing the government to solve because it makes a civil servant a high risk client and weakens their (civil servants) credit worthiness.
He said the government had told them it was not able to remit the money to the creditors, insurers and medical aid funders because of its inability to pay full salaries.
“Credit is a form of money, so if our members can’t access credit because they’re being considered a high risk it’s an unfair labour practice on the part of the government. It’s unacceptable for the government to willy-nilly abuse the privilege of a stop order facility disadvantaging the income of an employee,” Ndlovu added.
“We’re aware of this predicament that our members are facing and we’re urging the government to desist from the practice of deducting the money and not remitting it to the creditors, insurers or medical aid funders. It’s not within our intention to see such businesses collapsing.”
Public Service Association president Cecilia Alexander concurred saying the government had also not been remitting monthly membership subscriptions to the civil servants unions.
She said non-remittance of money that has been deducted by the government was unfair.
“We’ve brought the matter to the attention of the government and it’s an issue still under discussion. The government has, however, not given a time frame as to when it’ll start remitting the money being deducted,” said Alexander.
“To us this is an unfair labour practice and it’s not only about the government not remitting the money but it also means that the workers aren’t getting full pay especially for those on voluntary deductions.”
Public Service, Labour and Social Services Minister Prisca Mupfumira said she was not aware of the issue.
“I’m not aware of that matter but you might be aware that the government is having financial challenges and isn’t able to meet its financial obligations. As government we would want the government to remit all the monies it deducts from the civil servants,” she said.