Zimbabwe Government to lay off thousands of workers - report
Harare – The Zimbabwean government is reportedly set to fire thousands of civil servants as it seeks to reduce its wage bill.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, President Robert Mugabe's administration agreed to lay off thousands of civil servants to reduce its wage bill from 83% to about 40% of state annual expenditure.
"...There are rumours that they want to force everyone aged 55 years and above to retire," a senior official was quoted as saying.
The state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper reported that "idle" workers were largely responsible for government’s bloated wage bill.
The report quoted the 2015 civil service audit report as saying: "Many civil servants lack job description and are hardly contributing to public administration..."
The audit report revealed that some of the civil servants had become "redundant" and others duplicated duties.
If government goes ahead with the plan, the sacked workers would join thousands of workers who lost their jobs in the past month under a controversial Supreme Court ruling that employers could fire workers after giving them three months' notice and an equivalent of three months' salary.
Several companies, including the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, sacked many workers to tackle huge wage bills and rising operational costs.
Mugabe, however, signed a new law last week banning mass lay-offs.
The law compels employers to give notice to workers' representatives and a government board before any redundancies are processed.
Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downward spiral for more than a decade amid slow growth, low liquidity and high unemployment.
Many companies have closed, downsized or relocated to neighbouring countries.