The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporters
Government is aware of the economic challenges affecting its employees and is committed to engaging them in frank discussions on what can and cannot be done to assist them, a Cabinet minister has said.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Professor Paul Mavima said while Government would always seek to improve employees’ welfare, the State could not promise US dollar salaries.
This follows demands by some teachers’ unions for salaries in foreign currency.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Prof Mavima said: “Teachers are justified to make the demands.
“We also want them to come to the table to discuss with the Government and what is implementable will be implemented.
“What cannot be implemented – we are always very frank and candid with them to say that this is not possible at this particular moment in time and we always have hope for the future.
“At the moment the situations remains. Salaries are paid through RTGS and I am not sure if the situation will change.”
However, Zimbabwe Teachers Association president Mr Richard Gundane repeated the demand for US dollar salaries.
“We are reaffirming the position that teachers be paid in foreign currency, which is the only way to go in these current circumstances.
“We are not at a point where we are threatening to take industrial action, but the events will unfold,” said Mr Gundani.
Economic analyst Dr Gift Mugano said Zimbabwe’s economy could not afford foreign currency salaries.
“We have a serious foreign currency shortage in the country and the bottom line is that teachers cannot be paid in foreign currency as this will trigger the rest of the civil service to demand payment in foreign currency,” he said.
In the 2019 National Budget Statement presented two weeks ago, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube underscored Government’s commitment to improving employees’ welfare, and undertook to pay annual bonuses early. Most civil servants started getting the bonuses last week, a marked departure to the past few years when the previous administration staggered payments well into the following year.