Government Workers To Go On Strike As Mugabe Resumes Work
By Sechaba Lunkunku
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe, who returned from his medical trip in Singapore Sunday morning, resumed work this Monday, the day civil servants go on strike for non-payment of their bonuses.
In a report posted by AFP news agency on Sunday, Mugabe’s spokesman, George Charamba, confirmed his boss’s return from a “scheduled medical review” in Singapore adding “… he resumes work tomorrow (Monday)”.
Mugabe’s return coincided with the end of a junior doctors’ strike which had been on since Feb. 15. The doctors, who were joined by nurses last week, were demanding annual bonuses, an increase in on-call allowances and cheaper cars.
However, as doctors called off their strike after “seeing the plight of patients”, other government workers, mostly teachers, said they would stay away on Monday to push the government to pay 2016 annual bonuses that were due in December.
A Reuters report quoted Cecilia Alexander, chairwoman of Apex Council, a union for all civil servants, confirming the job action. According to the report, she said “workers would no longer hold a demonstration in the capital Harare as initially planned, but would instead go on strike”.
Teachers were advised to report for work but not teach as negotiations continue, according to a statement from the Apex Council.
Apex Council reportedly held an emergency meeting in Harare on Friday where a decision was taken to go on strike starting Monday.
According to the union, which represents over 300 000 workers, the strike will take place in all of the country’s 10 provinces.
“The Apex Council hereby advises all its members to sit-in or withdraw their labour on the 6th of March 2017 in anticipation of the outcome of the bonus meeting with government on the same day, whose feedback shall determine the next course of action,” Alexander, said.
But according to local weekly, Public Service and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira said: “We have deployed inspectors across the country and anyone not working will face the consequences.”