Chitungwiza to pay $250k to employees

Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
The cash-strapped Chitungwiza Municipality has resolved to pay $250 000 as retrenchment packages to over 200 workers who are staging a sit-in strike at its offices.

The sacked workers would be paid $1 000 each.

The employees who were sacked last year in August based on the July 17 Supreme Court ruling which allows employers to terminate workers’ contracts on three months’ notice, are besieging Chitungwiza Council headquarters demanding their outstanding salaries in full every day.

The workers who are demanding $2,1 million in unpaid salaries for the past 24 months, have been picketing at the council offices almost on a daily basis, saying they would only vacate after being paid.

During a full council meeting on Monday, it was revealed that town clerk George Makunde had met with the workers representatives and agreed that on the 15th of March, council would pay at least $1 000 to each worker.

“The town clerk has conducted a meeting with the retrenched employees and we agreed that by Wednesday, we will first pay a total of $27 000 for their (outstanding) bonuses,” he said.

“We also resolved that for the month of March, we will give each employee $1 000 from the 15th to the 30th which amounts to $234 000 while we will be looking at other issues.”

Recently, four of the Chitungwiza municipality managers reportedly siphoned more than $650 000 from the council through a suspicious slush fund account which the finance director claimed was for salaries.

Documents showed that the town managers used an FBC account to transfer various amounts to their personal bank accounts.

Chitungwiza has at least 1 200 workers whose salary bill is $1,5 million and the municipality say they are only collecting $800 000 per month.

Urban and Rural Workers’ Union (ZURCWU) secretary Mr Bernard Dhanda, said the $1 000 settlement was peanuts, but said workers only agreed because they were desperate.

He said if council did not own up to its pledge, the employees would continue besieging council offices.

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