Laid off workers picket council offices

MUTARE - Hordes of disgruntled Mutare City Council contract workers yesterday besieged the Civic Centre demanding their dues.

The workers camped at the Civic Centre’s corridors demanding audience with the city’s finance director Lloyd Musasa.

They were demanding their outstanding wages.

The workers said they had not been paid for nearly six months and they had been laid off at the expiry of their contracts without getting their salaries.

“We are tired of this madness,” fumed one of the former workers from a group of about 20.

“They say our employment is over but they lay us off with nothing. It makes no sense.”

The former workers brought business to a halt at the usually busy Civic Centre.

They vowed to stay put until they got an assurance of when they would be paid.

Musasa was not picking up is phone when the Daily News contacted him for comment.

Mutare mayor Tatenda Nhamarare told the Daily News that council management had addressed the former workers and reached an agreement.

“We have met with the workers and explained our position that the council has no money at the moment. We have assured them that they would get paid soon,” Nhamarare said.

The mayor would not say how much the council owed the workers.

He said the contract workers were owed varying amounts depending on when they joined the local authority.

“The council is in a financial crunch and that is why we have not renewed the contracts of over 200 council contract employees,” Nhamarare said.

“As soon as our finances are sorted, we will definitely pay what we owe them.”

The Mutare City Council has for the past year been struggling to pay its close to 1 500 workforce.

The council has attributed this to reduced revenue base from ratepayers; and is owed nearly $20 million by the over 300 000 residents in unpaid rates and supplementary charges.

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