Government plots retrenchments

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ZIMBABWE – Government has reportedly dispatched auditors to all State departments to identify all civil servants aged 50 years and above with a view to sending them on early retirement as part of efforts to contain its wage bill which currently takes up over 80% of its monthly budget. 

The Zanu PF administration has in the past few months struggled to pay its bloated civil service due to a shrinking tax base coupled by a massive drop in economic activity.

Government sources yesterday told NewsDay that every State work-station “has an auditor” gathering information on employees.

“There are people just sitting there checking the time workers come in and go while they take notes. These people are noting every minute that government workers spend working and that is happening even at Munhumutapa Building (Mugabe’s seat of power),” said a civil servant who declined to be named.

“There is information that government intends to offer a voluntary retrenchment package to all workers with ages ranging from 50 years up-wards”.

Civil servants representative body Apex Council chairman Richard Gundane confirmed the development.

“The information we are getting from our membership is that, there is an exercise in which government is collecting information on all workers who are aged 50 and above. We are not sure why this is so and what they intend to use the information for,” Gundane said.

He added that the exercise however was causing “unnecessary apprehension” amongst State employees.

“We have not met with the employer, but we are making preparations for the meeting. What I can tell you is that we do not understand why government is collecting this data, but it has caused unnecessary panic within the civil service. Everyone thinks they are going to lose their job.

“Now given the nature of civil service work in which most work as individuals, it makes it very difficult for them to concentrate and this will have a negative impact on service delivery,” Gundane said.

He said the government needed to “clear the air” as a matter of urgency in order to pacify unsettled workers.

Public Service minister Prisca Mupfumira has declared “no worker will lose their job” in the aftermath of the July 17 Supreme Court ruling that resulted in massive job cuts across the economy.

Mupfumira was not available for comment yesterday as repeated efforts by NewsDay to speak to her were fruitless.

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