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Mthuli Ncube haunted by civil service welfare

by Staff reporter
27 Feb 2020 at 12:12hrs | Views
A group of ex-civil servants most of whom are war veterans on Wednesday stormed New Government Complex seeking Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube's audience to discuss their welfare upon realising their former employer was in contravention of their contracts.

In terms of the contracts, ex-uniformed forces are entitled to two thirds of their exit salary every month as benefits.

In case of reviews, the same applies for them. Information gathered also shows the ex-civil servants were irked by the fact that they were not given cushioning allowances in January.

Anti-riot police swiftly intervened with the coordination of Treasury staff who convened a meeting for dialogue – successfully calming the nerves of the disgruntled grouping.

Protracted civil service wage negotiations are yet to be concluded as workers and government fail to reach an agreement.

Rising inflation and a dwindling national purse, in real terms, have compounded the situation.

Analysts contend wage pressure and inflation are the two major forces to widen the budget deficit for 2020.

With gold and tobacco under-performing in 2019 and indications of similar fate in 2020, Ncube has little room to manoeuvre.

In spite of this, Treasury has given concurrence on review of pensions and benefits of war veterans and ex-civil service workers, apparently giving in to growing pressure from the groups.

Treasury chief of communication, Clive Mphambela told Business Times yesterday an agreement had already been reached prior to the visit.

"The reason they had been here was that when civil servants' salaries were reviewed, they were left out," Mphambela said.

He confirmed they were concerned about being excluded from cushioning allowances, which they felt entitled to.

He said the ex-civil servants' benefits were reviewed recently. Sources say they were yet to benefit as the negotiations which gave rise to the new scenario were yet to be concluded.

"It was backdated to January, but they are to get the money on their next pay run. It was already water under the bridge so it was more of an inquiry," Mphambela said.

Asked whether or not the review in retirees' benefits will put pressure on the budget, Mphambela said the demands were provided for in the National Budget.

"Whatever they are being paid is provided for in the budget so there is no stretch on the budget," he said, adding: "what they were simply asking for is a respect for the standing contractual arrangement which is that a retired civil servant should get two thirds commutation of their exit salary and any subsequent reviews on their grade, the pension will be reviewed accordingly."

Source - businesstimes