Mayor averts council workers' strike

HARARE - Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni yesterday struck a deal with the Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU) to avert an imminent job action.

This comes after HMWU chairperson Cosmas Bungu threatened to mobilise workers to demonstrate over three months of unpaid salaries, among other issues.

Bungu indicated that management, which is earning hefty salaries, was getting paid on time while workers were getting nothing.

“There was an agreement that council had with the union that they would start paying salaries after council had increased its revenue,” Bungu said.

Manyenyeni told the Daily News that he had a meeting with Bungu and offered him a proposal that would benefit all parties.

“We agreed provisionally with the chairperson of the union to have a four-way discussion incorporating representatives of workers, management, residents and councillors,” Manyenyeni said.

“With that discussion, we expect neither municipal workers to down tools nor ratepayers to stop paying their bills.”

He said the forum would deal with the realistic expectations of each stakeholder.
Manyenyeni emphasised the need to look into the net result of the competing financial demands of each stakeholder.

The mayor said the process of containing their current challenges of making payments to the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) was on-going.

“We had an agreement with LAPF yesterday at which we proposed fresh thinking around reducing our indebtedness to the Fund. We agreed to meet again soon,” Manyenyeni said.
Earlier at a HMWU conference, Bungu said that HCC owed LAPF $58 million for pensions backdated to June 2013.

Bungu said the debt included that of the 1 000 workers who were placed on forced retrenchments at the beginning of the year.

“Under normal circumstances, when one is supposed to retire, they are given a notice one year in advance in order for the relevant paperwork to be processed so that as soon as they leave work, their money is automatically activated into their bank accounts,” Bungu said.

With an overall workforce of 6 348 and 45 middle managers, 1 190 ordinary employees, including 10 middle level managers, some workers are being laid-off in an exercise meant to rationalise council’s wage bill.

This came after government ordered a pay cut for all local authorities and parastatal bosses amid concerns about huge salaries and allowances.

Comments (3)

Thank you Mayor , keep it up, you are different from some of your colleagues who say we do not meet workers it is the duty of mgt. See you have averted a catastrophic situation to descend on Harare.

pagomo - 10 July 2014

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Thenk you Mayor for averting a strike. This is good. I wish if the responsible authorities in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza would emulate this. 13 months no salary and the town clerk says the Chitungwiza strike is politically driven. Nxaaaa. Haana kana ganda

Shumieee - 11 July 2014

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