The government has agreed to pay 2016 bonuses following negotiations with civil servants representative bodies in Harare this Monday.

The negotiations came up with the following payment calendar:

The health and defence sectors will get their bonuses in April 2017.

Teachers would be paid in June 2017 while the rest of the civil servants will be paid in August 2017.

Civil servants will start receiving their 2016 annual bonuses next month which will be spread over four months to give government breathing space as it is going to fork out an unbudgeted US$180 million.

The agreement was reached after a two hour meeting between civil servants representatives and government in Harare today.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Cde Prisca Mupfumira explained how the payments will be staggered over a four month period.

“Defence forces and health workers will be paid in April, the police and prisons will get their salaries in May, while June will be for the payment of teachers. The rest of the civil service will get their bonuses in August,” she said.

Apex Council Chairperson, Ms Cecilia Alexander said the meeting was fruitful.

The payment of bonuses means that the government will dig deeper into their coffers for at least US$180 million required to cater for bonuses.

The move by government is going to boost morale within the civil service though it gives burden to fiscal authorities.

Meanwhile, the breakthrough in the civil servants bonus negotiations has been described as clear testimony that with more engagement, trust and an open minded approach, the government and its workers can realise mutual benefits.

Civil servants unions concurred that lack of trust and poor coordination remains some of the threats to the sound relations between government and its workers.

Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers Union Secretary General, Mr George Mushipe said lack of trust and poor coordination have in the past not helped improve the relations between government and its workers.

“The candid, sincere and open-minded approach exhibited during the meeting to resolve the bonus impasse should be the guiding spirit and inform future engagements. The bad blood which has characterised the relations between the government and workers should not be allowed to develop roots,” he added.

While some have blamed the civil servants representatives for negotiating in bad faith and for being unrealistic, Zimbabwe Nurses Association Secretary General, Mr Enock Dongo is convinced that the challenge has been in lack of proper planning.

National Education Union of Zimbabwe Secretary General, Mr Mathias Guchutu said relations between the government and its workers have the potential to set a wrong cue to the private sector if not well managed.

For many neutrals, while the government workers have genuine concerns, there is need for the employees to make realistic demands given the obtaining macro-economic environment and to avoid negotiating in bad faith.