Yeukai Karengezeka Municipal Correspondent
Poor human resources management is bleeding the cash-strapped Chitungwiza Municipality, amid indications that its monthly budget for payouts of former employees has risen from $88 000 to $120 000.
The payments are being made to workers whose cases were the subject of labour disputes.
The amount arises out of 132 cases inclusive of matters that have been settled out of court, at the Ministry of Labour and the High Court.
According to recent minutes of the general purposes committee, the ruling in most cases was in favour of the employees.
“There is a cumulative figure of 132 cases in which council has entered into payment plans,” reads the minutes. “The figure includes the 26 court awards that are in favour of employees.
“There is a monthly obligation in excess of $120 000 that should be paid to former employees that relate to these payment plans and court awards.”
The cases are mostly for non-payment of salary arrears, non-payment of conditions of service entitlements and unilateral variation of salaries and conditions of service and agreed benefits.
Under industrial relations, the council had 91 cumulative labour cases during the month under review.
Of these cases, 47 are being handled by the head of human resources, while council lawyers were handling 44.
In a unique case, one Amos Matanhike is claiming a sum of $72 168 being an outstanding balance of terminal benefits.
Another former employee, Webster Gwanzura, is claiming $34 095 of outstanding pension contributions.
Sources at the council say incompetence on thepart of the human resources department has drained the municipality’s coffers.
Furthermore, it continues to engage the same lawyers who are losing the majority of the cases.
The council has been operating without a substantive chamber secretary for over a year with human resources director Mrs Mary Mukonyora acting in that capacity.