Civil servants call for review of retirement age

05 Jun, 2022 - 00:06 0 Views
Civil servants call for review of retirement age

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Sunday News Reporter
CIVIL servants in Bulawayo have called on the Government to bring downwards the retirement age from 65 years to 40, saying the declining life expectancy meant that most did not get to claim their retirement benefits.

In 2022, President Mnangagwa approved the age of 65 years as the retirement age for civil servants. This was approved as an amendment to regulations of 2000 that provided for two pensionable ages in the civil service.

President Mnangagwa

Under the 2000 regulations, those appointed on pensionable terms of service before May 1, 1992, had a pensionable age of 65 years, while those appointed on or after that date had a pensionable age of 60 years.

However, civil servants in the city have said workers die due to various diseases that have resulted in high mortality rates.

“As civil servants we propose that in the Labour Amendment Bill they should reduce retirement age to 40 years in sync with the depressed life expectancy. The life we are living is now shortened due to various diseases, we are now even failing to reach 60 years,” said one civil servant in Bulawayo last Thursday during a public hearing by the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.

He said most fellow civil servants had passed away without claiming their retirement package and enjoying the fruits of their service, while the Zimbabwe National Social Security Authority (NSSA) hoards contributions they had been making for years as part of the Pension and Other Benefits Scheme.

Concurring with this view was a member of the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) who said: “A number of challenges, among them different ailments, economic conditions including loss of jobs and inability by many to secure health insurance, have seen many Zimbabweans arguably dying before reaching retirement. This scenario has deprived many employees from enjoying their benefits. The law should allow us to atleast get our benefits at 40 years, with probably 20 years of service.”

Other proposals tabled before the committee included the need to review the violence and sexual harassment in workplaces clause which was said not to be fully addressing challenges faced by women.

“There is a need for the definition of sexual harassment to be expanded and adequate laws put in place to protect women in their work spaces.

“This is so because we need to support diversity and inclusive work practices, to promote respect among all people in the workplace and to encourage fair and equitable treatment of all people in the workplace,” said Ms Langelihle Gwebu.

During the hearings, Zimbabwe Congress for Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ) called on the law to give the Labour Court more powers. Workers also pleaded that the Bill should highlight that police should not interfere with collective job actions, as the workers have the right to march or demonstrate.

Meanwhile, there was a low turnout for the feedback meeting on the 2022 National Budget which was carried out by the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and Expanded Committee on Sustainable Development last Wednesday in Bulawayo.

With less than 10 people in attendance at a local hotel, the Committee’s acting chairperson, Senator Themba Mathuthu said: “We have been to other places like Binga, Tsholotsho and today we are in Bulawayo though the turnout was very low, but when we were doing budget consultations last year in October people did come out in their numbers.”

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