By Leopold Munhende
GOVERNMENT employed nurses received their November salaries last week without the 13th cheque annual bonus despite a commitment by Treasury to “do something that will be a thank you to those who have worked so hard through the year”.
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa would not be drawn on the issue during her weekly post-cabinet media briefing at Munhumutapa Building on Tuesday.
“I will give you that information later,” she said when asked about the bonus payments.
“We (Cabinet) deliberated on many things but I cannot share more than what I already have on what we discussed today.”
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is due to present his maiden budget this Thursday with little expected by way of giveaways to government employees who are agitating for salary increases and that wages must be paid in US$ dollars.
The minister has already announced tough austerity measures with more expected in his 2019 budget as he looks to get a grip runaway government expenditure.
Earlier this month Prof Ncube hinted that public sector employees would likely get their traditional 13th cheque.
“I won’t say what will happen with bonus this year yet, but you can be sure that we are going to do something that will be a thank you to those who have worked so hard through the year, but at same time cognisant of the need to tighten our belts,” he told a parliamentary pre-budget conference.
However, government nurses received their salaries last week without the bonus.
“We just want clarity on whether or not we will be getting bonuses this year because, as it is, we have already been paid but there is no communication whatsoever,” a nurse at Parirenyatwa hospital told NewZimbabwe.com
“It’s like we are being punished for something we do not know of, imagine no bonus in such a tough economic climate coupled by the first lady’s continued ‘surprise’ visits which seem to be targeted only at nurses.”
Zimbabwe Nurses’ Association (ZINA) secretary general Enock Dongo said government must honour the bonus commitment to civil servants.
“We were told that the bonus is our right and, considering the hard work that nurses are doing, government should really appreciate and pay our 2018 bonus without any compromise,” he said.
“We want our bonuses without any compromise; no funnies. Government should look for money to pay our bonuses timeously; preferably this year.”
Dongo would not say what action the association would take if the bonus is not honoured.
Hundreds of nurses were fired earlier this year by vice president Constantino Chiwenga after going on strike over night duty allowances.
Most were reinstated following the intervention president Emmerson Mnangagwa who had away attending an international event in Europe when his deputy made the drastic dismissal decision.