Outrage at council’s plan to cut salaries

via Outrage at council’s plan to cut salaries – The Zimbabwean 17 July 2015 by Regerai Tukutuku

Barely a month after the ministry of local government slashed Masvingo city town clerk Adolf Gusha’s monthly salary from $10,000 to $4,500 a row as erupted between council and its workers following a proposal that salaries of all workers should be slashed by about 20 percent.

If implemented the move would adversely affect the lowest paid workers in the council, some of whom take home less than $250 a month.

Workers claimed that they had been ordered to sign agreement forms as an acknowledgement to the slashing of their salaries. But they have refused to do so, arguing that they were among some of the least paid workers in the country and therefore would not allow their salaries to be cut.

“We held a meeting with council management recently where they told us that we should sign agreement forms as a way of agreeing to the move to have the salaries slashed, but we made it clear that we will not sign those forms ,”said a member of the Masvingo city council workers committee who declined to be named.

“As I speak now only a few workers from the engineering department signed those agreement forms while the rest have refused,” added one of the workers.

Workers claimed that council management told them that since the ministry of local government rural and urban development had slashed salaries for top council management all other workers should also follow suit.

“We demanded from council management to show us the letter from the then minister of local government Ignatius Chombo in which he is alleged to have ordered the slashing of our salaries. But council management refused to show us the letter,” workers told The Zimbabwean.

“They refused to give us the letter and told us that they were given the directive by the minister verbally,” said one.

Town clerk Gusha refused to comment on the developments arguing that the issue was purely administrative and should not be publicised by the press. He however confirmed that they were proposing to cut workers’ salaries by about 20 percent.

The council has about 550 workers with over 25 percent of them being contract workers. Other heads of departments including the town engineer, town treasurer, housing director and environmental health officer had their salaries also cut but it was not possible to establish how much they were earning prior to the cut.

The country’s poverty datum line PDL stands at USD 550 per family per month. Most of the council workers earn far less than the PDL

Masvingo city council rakes in about USD 800 000 a month of which about 70 percent goes towards payment of salaries and allowances for workers including top managers.