Govt gives in to pressure; suspends performance-based bonuses & promises unconditional 13th cheque for all civil servants  

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By Chief Correspondent 

GOVERNMENT has given in to pressure by civil servants’ unions and suspended a controversial plan to pay bonuses based on workers’ individual performances through the year.

The move had been trashed by unions as being a form of witch-hunting considering numerous job action by teachers, nurses and doctors over the past 12 months.

Former Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Jonathan Wutawashe had announced the plans last month, adding it formed part of government’s personnel performance system.

“It is correct that bonuses from now on will be paid on the basis of performance. One hopes that every public servant will get a good bonus, but the principle is very straightforward: If the service is excellent, you get an excellent bonus; if it is very good you get a very good bonus; and for good service you get a good bonus. But if it is nothing you embrace nothing,” said Wutawashe.

“That is the expectation. Of course, no one expects that public servants will be making efforts to produce nothing.”

After the climbdown, only permanent secretaries and directors will be receiving bonuses based on their performances.

“The meeting agreed that all the civil servants from Deputy Director grade and below will receive their bonuses unconditionally. The bonuses will be accorded in two trenches starting from November to December across the board,” read a statement from the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU), an amalgamation of civil servants’ representative groups.

“50% of the annual bonus will be paid per said month plus the usual earnings.”

In welcoming the development, Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said paying the bonus in trenches risked having some of government’s employees getting eroded allowances.

“We are worried that the paltry annual bonus is to be paid in trenches, which poses a serious risk of the final trench being eroded by inflation,” said Masaraure.

“Going forward the PSC should uphold the spirit of section 203 of the constitution which mandates the employer to fix conditions of service for employees through collective bargaining.”