It’s not a secret, civil servants and the government have been involved in a nasty contentious relationship for the past five or so years. At the heart of many of their disputes are remunerations packages that civil servants get. You see prior to 2017 civil servants were getting paid around US$500 per month in total. That changed when the bond notes and eventually Zim dollar were introduced. Thanks to inflation and a ballooning exchange rate that package has been reduced to below US$100 in most cases.

Now every other month civil servants from various sectors including nurses, teachers and even the security services have grumbled and demanded that their position be restored. The government for its part have called that demand unsustainable. Civil servants then go on to claim that they cannot report for duty not because they are striking, but rather because they are incapacitated and cannot report for duty because they don’t have things like busfare or transport money to even report.

In the latest effort to woe civil servants, mostly teachers, back to work, the government has been tabling the most bizarre of incentives. Including offering to pay school fees for children of civil servants under certain conditions among other things. The civil servants have held firm however demanding that their old salaries be restored. Now the government has another offer on the table. They will be offering civil servants free shopping trips on public service commission buses during paydays. Now that is rather bizarre.

The PSC wishes to inform civil servants that it will be providing transport for shopping to civil servants every Saturday after a payday monthly from February 2022 onwards.

Civil servants who wish to enjoy this facility are required to carry their payslips and national IDs with them and it should be noted that the facility is free for now.

The Herald’s report on the issue

Not unheard of

Now here is the funny part. While this is a bizarre request that is not the reason why this will probably fail to entice civil servants. The thing is it has been done before. Most schools and institutions that employ civil servants do already have something akin to this as a perk already. The teachers at my high school for example would knock off early and get on the school bus for free during paydays. It was an established tradition. So why would they be enticed by something they already enjoy?

That’s not all. You see most civil servants are employed outside Harare far away from those public service commission buses. Rural teachers will feel neglected as this is a perk they will not be able to enjoy.