Zimbabwe Government to pay bonuses after civil servants sit-in protest


HARARE, March 6 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s government on Monday agreed to pay outstanding cash bonuses, bringing an end to a brief sit-in protest by public workers, union leaders and a government minister said.

“The issue that we were clamouring for, which is the cash payment of bonuses, has been accepted,” said Raymond Majongwe, secretary general of Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.

Doctors called off a three-week strike on Sunday after government approved increased allowances and created 250 new jobs, the same day President Robert Mugabe returned from medical leave in Singapore.

Civil service unions said the 2016 bonuses would be staggered, starting with the army, doctors and nurses being paid in April, police in May and teachers in June.

Prisca Mupfumira, the public service and labour minister confirmed the bonus agreement with the unions.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has previously said the government requires $180 million for bonuses.

The southern African nation had failed to pay civil servants their bonuses due to a lack of funds. An offer to substitute the bonus with land was rejected by unions.

Reuters earlier saw signs the sit-in was not being adhered to everywhere.

At the government registry in the capital Harare, officials were issuing passports and birth certificates as normal, while teachers taught lessons at schools in the city centre.

Last July government operations were brought to a halt after a public sector strike coincided with a stay at home rallying call by social media groups. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Joe Brock)