By Staff Reporter
UNIONS representing government- employed teachers have condoned the 2019 national budget as illogical, adding that bonuses promised by treasury as meaningless.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube presented his fiscal plan for next before Parliament last Thursday, allocating the biggest chuck of the budget to the education sector.
Some unions however, feel it’s not prudent to have a budget in US dollars while civil servants’ salaries are paid in electronic money (RTGS) and bond notes.
“Why budget in US dollars and pay in bond note?,” asked Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary General Raymond Majongwe after the budget had been unveiled.
Although the finance minister said civil servants would get their annual bonus, teachers were not impressed.
“Bonus on a meaningless net salary is no bonus. It is so bad that they have (President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration) has done worse than Mugabe,” said Majongwe.
“Government is telling teachers that they can never drive cars. Firstly, they pay us peanuts in worthless RTGS dollars, then we have to buy foreign currency on the parallel market to buy the car and then buy more foreign currency to pay government.
“Why are they refusing to accept the money they are paying us in? We are very frustrated that the (finance) minister finished his statement without coming out clearly on what mode of payment they are going to use for civil servants.”
He added; “Government is effectively telling us that the concerns of civil servants are not important.
“They cannot pay us in a currency that does not allow us to function. We have to pay for medicines in foreign currency and now we have to pay import duty in foreign currency tot.
“This government is worse than the supremacist white regime that did not consult. They have reduced our bonus to only include net salary only which is peanuts.
“Why did they remove Mugabe if they cannot be better than him?”
Teachers in the rural areas also had no kind words for the treasury boss.
“The Finance Minister, Honourable Mthuli Ncube has aggravated civil servants’ woes by once again attacking welfare of the government workers,” the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said in a statement.
“The Minister slashed government workers’ bonus and maintained that salaries will continue being paid in Real Time Gross Settlements (RTGS).
“He further introduced foreign currency import duty for vehicles. The workers have no option but to fight back.
“Bonus for civil servants is now going to be 100% of the paltry basic salary only. The average civil servant earns between 280 and 300 dollars as basic salary.
“In essence the government workers will receive an average of 290 dollars as 2018 bonus.”
The rural educators said they would stage another round of protests later this month.
“This protest will also push for the restoration of bonus in full. The schools will shut down from 29th to 30th of November as teachers withdraw their labour in protest of unfair labour practices by government,” the militant labour group said.