Teachers get December salaries minus pension deductions

Felex Share Senior Reporter
Government yesterday paid teachers their December salaries, quashing private media reports that it was in the red and would not meet its salary obligations.

Acting Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Dr Lazarus Dokora assured civil servants who are yet to receive their salaries that while Government faced numerous obligations, salaries were statutory and the employer would not renege on paying them.

Some members of the uniformed forces got their salaries before Christmas Day and Government deferred the pay date for teachers from Monday to yesterday.

The rest of the civil service, which was supposed to be paid yesterday, had their pay date moved to next Tuesday.

Said Minister Dokora: “Government has promised and it will fulfil that. Yes, there are challenges here and there, but the workers should know that resource constraints does not mean the promise has been forgotten.

“I am happy this day has come to pass (teachers being paid) and we continue to look forward to other commitments that have been made. I want to encourage workers to keep their calm and allow Government to proceed to fulfil its part.”

Some civil servants, mainly health workers, had threatened to go on strike beginning Friday, albeit without following the dictates of the Civil Service Commission.

According to Section 16:04 of the Public Service Act and Public Service Regulations, negotiators first engage each other and if no solution is found they can call an independent arbitrator.

If the arbitrator’s decision is disputed by the employees, they can proceed to give a 14-day strike notice.

Teachers yesterday each had between $35 and $45 deducted as pension contribution, an amount teachers’ representatives said was “too much.”

As part of the of the raft of measures being introduced to rationalise the civil service, Government recently announced that effective December 1, pension contributions would be resuscitated, with each civil servant contributing 7,5 percent every month.

Civil servants have not been paying pension since 2009 when everyone was getting a flat $100 allowance.

However, despite the non-contribution by members, Government continued paying out full pension benefits to members after termination of employment.

The move eventually became unsustainable and a huge backlog of commutations accumulated.

In an earlier interview, the substantive Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Prisca Mupfumira, said Government needed to fund pensions through current contributions.

“We should appreciate that we all need to retire and get paid from own and employer contributions upon retirement,” she said.

“The workers were not contributing and this is an anomaly. We carried out a civil service audit which recommended these measures. We will discuss and consult stakeholders on modalities of setting up of the Civil Service Pension Fund. It’s a safety net and social protection for retirees.”

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu, said Government was simply dictating these measures to them.

“All along the belief was that they have not been deducting the pension because they were considering that the levels of income were low,” he said.

“But this coming on the eve of the implementation of a new budget means that methodically Government has killed social dialogue by not convening any meeting. An absence of social dialogue creates conflict.”

Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive, Mr Manuel Nyawo, said while they were happy that teachers had finally received their salaries, he hoped the January 6 meeting with Government negotiators would clear the air on the pension contributions.

“It is sad that at a time we expect more benefits from Government, we get more deductions. Government should reconsider its position and we hope our next meeting would iron out these issues,” he said.

Public Service Association president Mrs Cecelia Alexander, whose constituency is yet to get paid, said Government should use the proper channels to communicate with them.

“What is sad is that we are learning about everything through the newspaper,” she said.

“They introduced bus fare and without salaries where will that money come from to report for duty. As for the pension deductions, this is not the conducive time to do so because we have not received any salary increase. They should come to the table and we map the way forward together rather than ambushing us.”

The rationalisation exercise by Government is expected to serve about $400 million annually.

All vacant posts have been abolished, bus fare for civil servants has been re-introduced, under-used staff is being redeployed, funding of bridging courses has been scrapped while all members who were abusing various types of leave, tampering with pay sheets and attendance registers have been charged.

Student teachers and trainees’ allowances have been reduced from $329 to $157 while salaries paid to teachers at trust and private schools by Government have been terminated.

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  • Call that heartless demon by its name-MUGABE MUST GO!

  • Hatterncourt

    Why target teachers all the time? It is sad to note that when one joins prisons, army or police they get their full pay upon recruitment. Teachers pay for their training and when they go for teaching practice the little allowance that they were getting has been slashed by half but these are the only people who are always working full time even at home and when they are on leave. May our good government take time and think about the welfare of teachers. Please let the nation respect teachers.

  • king

    Its a way of reducing wage bill, they wont remit this pension deduction to pension fund

  • Jotham

    You are imagining things. Where does the country get that kind of money?. $100 000.00 per day?. Maybe you are such an ignoramus, shame. The Govt. should trim these evil servants. The Country can not sustain the current crop of evil teachers and nurses. Go to any school or hospital and witness the cruelty of these thugs. Why would the Govt. pay them bonuses, eish.

  • Jotham

    Govt. Employees don’t add value to the Economy. Look at Teachers and Nurses – truly they lack professionalism let alone commitment to duty and at most are the worst looters. As for the police – my dear there are not worth it. Daylight robbery at road blocks.

    • Zuze

      Who’s to blame for that state of affairs? Who created these monsters? Who are these monsters supposed to answer to? Wait for it,,,, Wait for it……ZANU PF. (Jothams people)

  • Dungeni

    That does not need to happen. Discussions may get heated. That is healthy and makes for good reading. Its just the swearing that is not good because it is counter productive. Today you contributed. Some one read and liked it. What we done in the past need never Govern what we do in the future. Lack of agreement is good for growth. Too much agreement makes for dictatorship. Your decision is yours but we need everybody that is able on this platform and you are part of it.

    • Mpho kaMagwaza

      I know my brother, just that being on this platform is now overwhelming me, the best thing for me is to gracefully bow out.

  • Jotham

    ……… have a conscience?. aaaaaahaaa uzamani ndoda nxa ulahla i speaker like this?. In this present day and age you like dreaming emini libalele, shame. You come up with wild figures. Only big bosses in the private sector will paid such amounts of money. Govt. workers don’t earn such money. The economy can and will never be able to pay such figures. The fiscus is too thin. You make wild claims but that will not change the reality on the ground. Your sources of information are largely vagrants roamingthe streets of Bulawayo and Harare

  • Jotham

    You are a typical sick tribalist, with a rotting brain, nja.