BY TAFADZWA KACHIKO/HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
THE Chitungwiza Municipal Workers Union (CMWU) has given the council until May 16 to address their poor working conditions or face a crippling strike.
In a letter, addressed to acting town clerk Evangelista Machona yesterday, CMWU president Ephraim Katsina said they intended to embark on strike on May 17 if at least 80% of their grievances are not addressed.
“We hope you will do the right thing, that is, to engage workers as opposed to wasting ratepayers’ resources by hiring lawyers to defend genuine workers’ concerns. We know it’s your right to do so, but some issues just need engagement with your workers through their representatives,” the letter read.
Katsina told NewsDay that the workers embarked on a go-slow yesterday up to May 16 before they embark on a full-blown strike if their demands were not met.
“We are not going backwards, starting from today, we will be on a go-slow and our grievances are over poor working conditions, hazardous working environment, non-remittance to third parties like pensions, medical, funeral, union dues and works union. We also want residential stands,” Katsina said yesterday.
He said workers were demanding to be paid their full salaries before the 25th of each month.
“We are a duly registered trade union in terms of section 33 of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01. We write to give our employer, Chitungwiza Municipality a 14-day notice in terms of section 104(1)(2) and 4(a) and (b), our demands are as follows:
“Occupational hazards at workplace (no toilets, no office furniture), victimization, non-remittance to third parties such as medical aid, funeral cover, pensions, union dues, and others. Threatening the existence of a duly registered union and not respecting a duly elected workers’ committee, thereby, rendering it useless. Non-remittance of union dues as per section 54 of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01,” read part of the letter.
Mayor Lovemore Maiko told NewsDay that the management was doing its best to address “many of these legacy issues which cannot end overnight”.
“As a council, we will always continue on the path of engagement with our workforce with a view of addressing their concerns religiously. Steps are going to be taken to avert the situation so that it does not get out of hand.
“My message to workers is we have to engage or dialogue for us to find a lasting solution to these challenges. We want the best for them. We are alive to the fact that without a happy workforce we are bound to fail to provide that which we exist for, quality service provision, let’s reason together and gradually our challenges will come to pass,” Maiko said.