'No Work No Pay' policy takes its toll

Staff Writer
This month end has not brought happy times for civil service workers who have, for the last month, been on the mother of all strikes, with which they sought to influence government to raise their salaries by 16 percent.

With the implementation of the 'No Work, No Pay' policy by government, striking workers' pockets are emptier, and they face a bleaker month ahead, they said.

"I foresee myself getting into more debt," a civil service worker employed in the Ministry of Presidential Affairs told Mmegi in an interview.  He said that P3,500 had been deducted from his salary, which is equivalent to 10 days' work.  He said that because the disposable income will not be enough to cover his expenses, he is going to be forced to borrow more money.

The worker, who preferred anonymity, said that already this month, he would not be paying his water and electricity bills in full.

"Expenses like rent are a different matter because you can not pay part of it, you have to pay full," he said.  He said that the deduction would affect his dependants.

"This month, I am going to have to skip giving my mother money.  The people that I owe money, I am going to have to ask them to be patient with me, and my girlfriend will have to understand that there will be no movies this month," he said. However, it is not just the workers themselves who are affected. Micro-lenders and cash loan companies

say that they have hit hard times as a result of the public service strike.

"Fifty percent of our clients are government employees, and of those 20 percent have not paid us this month," said Alex Okoche, of Riverride Cash Loans of Francistown.

"Where can they get the money from?  If they don't go back to work, we are going to have to sue them, there will be lots of bad debt from this strike," Okoche said.  He said that, as it is, they are running short of money, so they don't have money to give to new clients.

Okoche said that since month end, they have experienced a flood of civil service workers asking for loans."We turn them away.  We are not giving any public servants any loans unless they can provide proof that they are not on strike," he said.  An official from Matshelo Cash Loans also confirmed that they have currently suspended giving civil servants money.

An employee of Hello Cabs attributed the slump in business this month-end to the nationwide walkout."Usually our slow days at this time of month are Mondays and Tuesdays, and business picks up from Wednesday until the weekend.  But this time there has been very little business," she said.

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