Chitungwiza workers issue strike ultimatum

HARARE - Chitungwiza municipal workers have given their employer a 14-day ultimatum to pay their January and February salaries or face industrial action.

The workers in January resolved to forego their allowances to ensure regular payment of their salaries but are still singing the blues after going seven months without pay.

They told the Daily News yesterday that their employer had agreed to pay them in instalments but only the December salary has been paid so fa.

Stung by the continued non-payment of their salaries, the workers have threatened to go on strike if the city fathers do not pay them their dues.

“We have given management a two-week ultimatum to force them to pay us for the two months (January and February).

“They continue to tell us that they do not have money but we are not convinced.

“We have demanded that management should justify its actions in the presence of the minister of Labour,” said Ephraim Katsina, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU), which represents Chitungwiza employees. He said the ultimatum was issued on Monday.

There is no end in sight for the reeling workers in the sprawling town as city fathers who drive around in top-of-the-range vehicles and reside in some of Harare’s leafy suburbs insist the populous town is broke.
Workers are owed in excess of $5 million in salaries.

Chitungwiza town clerk George Makunde was unavailable for comment but he has previously told the Daily News council’s hands were tied because of a liquidity crunch.

An $800 000 loan facility promised to the council by bankers has not come to fruition leaving the municipality at the mercy of angry workers.

“Resources are the problem and we cannot really do anything about it because the economic environment is very hostile. Even our bankers who had promised us some money have failed to avail the funds owing to the punishing economic climate because there is no sufficient circulation of money in the market,” Makunde said.

“There is no need really for workers to be militant because at times the difference might be the same. The money does not come from the pocket of the town clerk and they know very well that residents are not paying their dues to council,” Makunde said.

Makunde blames the current situation on “greedy” past administrations and employees whom he accused of borrowing extensively and using the money with “very little care”. - Mugove Tafirenyika

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