via Council workers in pay protest | The Herald January 7, 2014 by Nyemudzai Kakore
Angry workers from Harare City Council’s waste management division yesterday dumped refuse at the main bus terminus in Mbare as part of wider protests by municipal employees over unpaid salaries and bonuses.Workers thronged Town House and vowed not to work until their grievances had been resolved.
Waste management trucks, tippers and tractors were hooting and screeching tyres in a noisy protest as senior council officials watched helplessly from the entrance to Town House.
Mayor of Harare Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni said council might start paying some of the workers at the end of this week.
“I am aware that there is a workers’ demonstration at Town House but be advised that we are attending to the workers’ salaries concern regarding payment delays.
“We are starting with staggered payments and that is the only way we can manage. We will start paying the lower grades up to the management,” he said.
The executive chairman of the Harare Municipal Workers Union, Mr Cosmas Bungu, said affected employees had not received December salaries and year-end bonuses.
“Our members are now desperate. With the beginning of a new year they have to pay for rentals, school fees and groceries for the upkeep of their families,” he said.
Mr Bungu said the workers’ union had taken legal action to secure their rights.
“In order to protect the rights of our members, we have also instructed our lawyers to take the case legally in order to enforce the rights of our members in terms of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01,” he said.
Mr Bungu said despite the demonstrations, they would want to avoid a situation where essential services were disrupted. The workers’ union representative said the decision to cut top officials’ salaries announced by Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo would result in money trickling down to other council workers.
Dr Chombo said he would not approve any council budget that does not reflect a commitment to reduce salary costs. The minister said council must maintain a 30:70 salary-to-service delivery ratio.
“We are mindful of what Minister Chombo said because if the salaries of top officials are cut, we will recommend the money to benefit other council workers who for the past month have not received their salaries,” he said.