Nearly half of civil servants, including the entire Ministry of Health staff, are yet to get their December 2012 salaries, a development the Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) has described as unfair.
CSTU argues that health workers, who are among essential service providers, were directed to work throughout the festive season, yet they have not been paid.
Other ministries yet to get paid include Information, Justice and Local Government, according to government sources.
CSTU president Elia Kamphinda-Banda on Wednesday said almost all ministries had not been paid, save for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.
Claimed Kamphinda-Banda: “For the Ministry of Health, it is the entire ministry which has not been paid so far. Actually, it is almost half of the civil service that has not been paid. The unfortunate thing is that I got the information on the afternoon of December 24 and it was difficult for me to follow up.”
He said after talking to some government officials, especially at the Ministry of Health, he was informed they were actually meeting over the issue. He confirmed that according to the information he had, the other affected ministries include Justice, Local Government and Information.
He said the union’s major concern is the Ministry of Health, arguing the development is unfair for them as they are supposed to be working even over the two-week civil service festive holiday.
Said Kamphinda-Banda: “We have so far demanded that the people should be paid as soon as possible even if it means some people being recalled from their holidays.”
Treasury spokesperson Nations Msowoya said the problem might be with individual ministries or departments since Treasury already released the money.
“From our perspective, payrolls are prepared by ministries and departments and our role is just to release the money, which we did as early as the 14th of this month,” he said.
Spokesperson for Human Resources Department Rudo Kayira said “probably the problem was with individual banks and not the actual payment of the salaries.”
But Ministry of Local Government spokesperson Maganizo Mazeze said after checking with most of the staff at both junior and senior levels, he was informed that almost all of them were paid.
Ministry of Health spokesperson Henry Chimbali confirmed that most of the staff in his ministry have not been paid. He attributed the delay to problems that an initial payment voucher list had.
Said Chimbali: “The first one we sent [to the Accountant General] had some mistakes and we had to send a fresh one on Friday, hoping that people will start being paid this week.”
But Chimbali said he was hopeful the staff will be paid by the end of this week as accounts staff at Capital Hill were still working despite the holidays.
The Nation established that, despite the delay, most civil servants got their December payslips by December 17, but they were shocked to find out that there was no money in their accounts when they checked with their banks throughout the week and until Wednesday.
According to information from some of those who have not been paid, government announced that all civil servants salary vouchers should be cleared by December 17 to prepare for the Christmas holidays after it was announced that civil servants should go on holiday from December 24 to January 7 2013.