Mutare council lays off workers

MUTARE - Mutare council has asked close to 1 000 street cleaners, garbage collectors and city park attendants to stay at home because the broke authority cannot afford to pay them.

Most council employees have gone for more than four months without being paid, as the MDC-run council collapses under the weight of mismanagement.

“We have not been reporting for work since the beginning of this month. It is surprising that they lay us off without even paying us what we are owed,” said one of the affected workers.

Mutare acting mayor George Jerison said council had not retrenched the workers but had instructed them not to report for work “in the meantime”.

“The workers have not been dismissed as such but they are not reporting for work. We need to first meet as full council and decide our financial capacity to retain them,” said Jerison, who has been accused of running down the council since he was pushed out by Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.

“After council has reached a resolution will we then retain or let them go. As it stands we are still to meet next week and decide their fate,” said Jerison.

Apart from salary arrears, council has been unable to pay its employees annual bonuses for 2012 while service delivery has deteriorated.

Residents fear the move to lay off staff will worsen service delivery in the eastern border city once touted as the cleanest city in Zimbabwe. - Sydney Saize

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