Chitungwiza ordered to pay all workers by July

HARARE - An Independent arbitrator in the salary dispute between Chitungwiza municipality and its employees has ordered the local authority to clear all salary arrears by July 2014.

With the local authority saddled with a debt of over $50 million, the employees, who have now gone for close to a year without pay, has resolved to do away with paying allowances and start paying regular salaries.

The situation however, did not improve, prompting the workers to approach the Labour Court, which referred the matter to an independent arbitrator.

In a December 30, 2013 judgment handed down by the arbitrator, M.C Kare, Chitungwiza municipality was directed to pay all its workers between now and July 2014 “to fulfil its legal obligation”.

Kare, however, noted that the local authority was incapacitated to pay all its employees two months’ salary arrears as a lump sum as they had demanded when they filed their papers.

“In light of this, I hereby order respondent to follow a payment plan given hereunder and stagger salary arrears to give itself breathing space,” reads the order.

“Payment of salary arrears shall start in January clearing off not later than July 2014.”

Workers expressed satisfaction with the ruling saying they expected their employer to respect it.

“We are naturally relieved that at last we get paid for our sweat although we would have preferred a situation whereby we were given all that we are owed at once,” said Ephraim Katsina, chairperson of Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU).

According to the ruling, the lowest paid workers will be paid first in ascending order with senior management being paid last.

“Employees will be paid respectively in the following order; January (grades 1-3), February (grade 4), March (grade 5), April (grade 6) May (grades 7-9) June (grades 10-12) and July (management)”.

George Makunde, Chitungiza town clerk, was not picking calls when the Daily News called him for comment.

He however, is on record saying council was broke, blaming the appalling state of affairs on his predecessor Godfrey Tanyanyiwa’s administration.

He accused the administration of borrowing extensively and using the money with reckless abandon.

Tanyanyiwa has since been dragged to court on allegations of corruption and abuse of office.

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