Latwell Nyangu, H-Metro Reporter
HARARE City Council has moved to avert strike action by workers, which was scheduled to start today over salary demands.
Last week, Harare workers gave notice of a strike saying they are incapacitated to continue working while on net salaries of ZW$4000.
Employee Party Trade Unions in the Harare Municipal Undertaking comprising Harare Municipal Union (HMWU), Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers Union (ZUCWU), Water and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (WAWUZ) and Zimbabwe Allied Municipalities Workers Union (ZAMWUZ) are representing the workers in Grade 5 to 16.
In a letter addressed to the acting Town Clerk, Dr Prosper Chonzi, Harare Mayor, Jacob Mafume, acting Employer Party Chairman, Councillor Mutizwa and National Employment Council, Chairman, Advocate Matsikidze, the workers said:
“The City of Harare is giving a meagre salary which amounts to ZW$4000 net salary per month translating to about US$40.
“This is a slap in the face of the employees taking into account the fact the ZW$4000 is inclusive of allowances.
“At the moment transport allowance is ZW$480 and this can only allow an employee to report for duty for four days.
“This is a backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic wherein serious hardships have been induced.
“Government has been paying a US$75 allowance for Covid-19 to all civil servants.”
The City of Harare is engaging all registered Trade Unions over employees’ salary increment.
Council’s engagement follows after workers had threatened to down tools after a deadlock over salaries.
The industrial action threat followed failed negotiations between the employer and employees’ trade unions.
Acting Human Capital Director, Bozman Matengarufu has since issued a memorandum confirming engagement with registered trade unions.
“The Management and registered Trade Unions have been engaged in the collective bargaining negotiations at the National Employment Council level and the negotiations are still under way.
“In the same vein, council will continue to engage the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works in order to have the supplementary budget approved so that council can meet all its operational costs.
“Notwithstanding the above negotiations and other consultations made, council has decided to pay a cushioning allowance to all its employees on interim bases so that employers can sustain their families until the collective bargaining negotiations are concluded.
“The payment of this cushioning allowance will be with effect from September 2020 and will be paid before end of October 2020.
“All employees are notified that the work rotation system in line with the Covid-19 Health protocols will continue to be implemented until the situation improves.
‘Management will also keep all the employees updated on the cost of living negotiations that are currently underway and the state of Covid-19 in the city.”