Harare - Tensions are likely to rise after Zimbabwean civil services unions snubbed a crisis meeting called by Public Service Minister Prisca Mupfumira to tackle government’s failure to mobilise money for their June salaries, state media reported on Tuesday.
According to The Herald, Mapfumira called a meeting on Monday to discuss the changes on pay dates. But the civil servants' umbrella body, the Apex Council, boycotted the meeting, saying government was making unilateral decisions without consulting them.
Apex Council president Cecilia Alexander said that the civil servants body rejected the meeting with the government representatives due to government’s failure of properly inviting them and setting out a clear agenda.
"As the Apex Council, we feel that we're an important stakeholder and we need to be respected by the government. There's information we’re reading in the media that civil servants pay dates have been changed. We realise that the government has already made a unilateral decision and the reason for the meeting is so we just rubber stamp the decision. We refuse to accept this," Alexander was cited saying.
However, according to Mupfumira her department was also shocked over the delay in the payment of the salaries.
The privately owned Newsday quoted the minister as saying that the decision was made without her ministry's involvement.
"To be honest, I just saw those proposals on social media and I was concerned as well. It's unfortunate that the workers think my ministry, as the employer, was aware of the move when, in actual fact, I was in the dark," Mupfumira was quoted as saying.
Reports suggested that the tensions could trigger unrest in the southern African country.
The Zimbabwean government announced on Monday that it would delay paying June salaries for the military and police by up to two weeks.
It said other workers on the state payroll would only receive their salaries next month.
Zimbabwe has continuously been delaying pay dates for its employees for nearly a year due to revenue problems, but this was the first time the salaries had been delayed so long.