(Last Updated on October 21, 2020 by Editor)
ZIMBABWE – Citizens from across the country have taken to social media to express deep frustration at government’s insensitivity to the plight of civil servants following the latest tweet by Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Nick Mangwana announcing that civil servants will receive US$500 as funeral assistance allowance when they pass on.
Secretary Mangwana announced the latest development on Twitter yesterday raising a lot of eyebrows in the process.
He said, “starting immediately, Govt will pay an equivalent US500 in funeral assistance for any civil servant who passes away. This is regardless of any funeral policy the member may have. The money is paid to a surviving spouse, adult children or agreed dependent.”
Social media has been flooded with many comments critical of this decision, questioning why government is currently not paying a living wage in order to alleviate the suffering of many of it’s public workers.
Citizens and various organizations are labeling this as selfish and a naive approach from the government.
Progressive Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) urged the government to give it’s workers a living wage and let them decide how to use it upon death.
PTUZ replied to the Secretary’s tweet saying “Thank you Nick. The reason why we join funeral policies is because we have relatives and children who also depend on us for that. They and us also need food and other things while still alive. Give us a living wage and we decide how we live and get buried.”
MDC-Alliance spokeswoman, Fadzayi Mahere also criticised this decision highlighting that government is supposed to improve the conditions of workers now.
“So you accept that salaries of civil servants should be pegged in USD? If you can pay them US$500 in death, why pay them a sickly US$50 in life?Why not improve their conditions of service now so they can pay for a funeral policy of their choice? #FightForLivelihoods.”
Salary negotiations between government and it’s workers have so far been futile with the former refusing to make significant upward reviews to the inflation ravaged salaries.
Last month, the teachers labeled these negotiations as”lacking seriousness.”
Currently most civil servants are earning less than US$50 and have implored government to address their grievances with teachers declaring incapacitation and refusing to report for school following the reopening announced last month.