via Council workers return to work | The Herald January 8, 2014
Harare City Council workers who demonstrated over unpaid salaries and bonuses on Monday returned to work yesterday without a clear solution to their concerns in sight. Harare Municipal Workers Union leader Mr Cosmas Bungu told The Herald that the workers were now waiting for talks over the unresolved pay issue.
“The demonstration was a spontaneous reaction for their grievances to be heard,” he said. “Our members have resumed work, although under protest.”
The union leader said council management said it would pay outstanding salaries by the end of this week.
“The agreement is that they should first communicate with us . . . As a union we are prepared to meet with the management to resolve the matter,” he explained.
Workers from Harare City Council’s waste management division on Monday dumped refuse at the main bus terminus in Mbare while others thronged Town House in a spontaneous protest over unpaid December 2013 salaries and annual bonuses.
Mr Bungu said council was getting revenues sufficient to pay workers on time.
“The council is raking in a lot of money from various operations targeting people owing the city money,” he said. “They should pay our members and they have no reasons to fail to do so.”
Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba denounced the dumping of garbage onto the streets saying it was unjustified.
“While they have legitimate grievances against their employer, the workers have to present their issues through their representatives, while they ensure that they do not throw litter everywhere,” he said.
Mr Shumba criticised the council for having a “huge” and “under-performing” workforce which it could not afford to pay.
The council, he said, should rationalise its workforce as residents could not be punished for poor management of public resources and misplaced priorities.
“The council has a huge workforce which it cannot sustain, given the economic and social difficulties being experienced by most residents,” he said.
“At least 30 percent of the revenue generated from municipal services must be used to pay the workers while 70 percent must go towards service provision.”