Council backtracks on stands-for-salaries deal

HARARE – Harare City Council (HCC) workers who are owed more than five months in back-pay are yet to receive residential stands they were promised by the city in lieu of their outstanding dues.

Harare Municipal Workers Union executive director Cosmas Bungu told the Daily News that council had reneged on the promise it made to workers.

Last year, council resolved to put aside $275 000 daily towards the payment of salaries of Grades 5 to 16 workers whose dues are in arrears.

“Workers work without pay and are promised residential stands however to date they have not received anything.

“Nothing is being said as to what is going to happen.

“The salaries are not coming and neither are the stands,” Bungu said.

He said council workers have been patient with the city despite violating all the agreements they made in past collective bargaining agreements.

According to housing committee minutes of January this year, council resolved to allocate 2 000 serviced stands in Eyestone of Arlington Estate and 1 000 residential stands in Mabvuku to council employees in Grades 5 to 16.

“The committee had before it a report by the acting director of Housing and Social Development (Rtd Major Matthew Marara) on allocation of 2 000 serviced stands depicted on layout plan numbers TPY/ER/02 /16 in Eyestone of Arlington Estate and 1 000 depicted on layout plan number TPY/ER/ 01/ 16 in Mabvuku township to council employees in Grade 5 to 16 in the Harare Municipal Undertaking,” reads the minutes.

Harare has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries and provide basic services owing to low revenue and recently announced that it would set aside $275 000 daily towards salaries in a bid to reduce arrears of six months. 

Last year, the city put three of its commercial and industrial stands through public tender in a bid to raise over $20 million.

The city has also been selling most of its properties in both high and low density areas in order to try and raise money to pay its workers and pay of its statutory obligations.