Zimbabwe will spend $180 million to pay the 2016 bonuses for its workers over five months from April following a crunch meeting with union leaders today, staving off a crippling strike.
Civil servants had planned to go on strike today over payment of 2016 bonuses, traditionally paid in November.
The cash-strapped government had previously proposed giving the workers residential land in lieu of cash, an offer which they rejected outright.
Minister of Public Service and Labour Prisca Mupfumira told reporters after the meeting that government had agreed to pay cash bonuses to its 298 000-strong workforce.
“We have agreed on a position and we are going to be paying our civil servants their bonuses staggered. We will start with Defence and Health in April followed by Police and Prisons in May, Teachers in June then the rest of the civil service in August,” she said.
Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who was also present at the meeting said the payments will total $180 million.
Asked how the government — which is already struggling to meet its workers’ basic pay — would finance the bonus payments Chinamasa shrugged off questions only saying that “government will certainly mobilize the resources”.
Chinamasa has twice tried to scrap the bonus as part of measures to deal with a mounting budget deficit which reached $1.2 billion in 2016, only to be publicly embarrassed by President Robert Mugabe who reversed his proposals.
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