BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council has refused to give in to demands by its workers that their salaries be pegged above the poverty datum line.
Recently, workers went on strike after giving their employer a 14-day notice.
Council instead wrote to workers threatening to withhold salaries of those who embark on strike.
“We have learnt with great concern that you addressed employees to proceed on illegal job action in the form of sit-in or go-slow in their work stations,” acting town clerk Vakai Chikwekwe wrote to the workers.
“You must be forewarned that the purported illegal job action has negative consequences to the employees. The principle of no-work-no-pay shall apply to all employees who are embarking on the illegal job action.”
He added: “It is also disturbing that the works council had made considerable strides to increase the basic salary of the lowest employee from $6 050 to $10 000 which agreement the employee representatives have not yet signed for.
“This action is tantamount to reneging from the works council position and consequently, it means there is no agreement between the parties and council will be forced to revert to the salary level of March 2021.”
The council also suspended eight workers representatives.
The suspension was, however, lifted last week after a wage agreement was signed with the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU).
“As a union, although we think the agreement is not that perfect, it addresses most of our concerns,” ZUCWU national general secretary, Kudakwashe Munengiwa yesterday told The Southern Eye.
“There are two issues still pending in the agreement but we have said, let dialogue take its course while at the same time service delivery is not disrupted.
“There is need for harmony in the city. Council also lifted suspension of workers leaders and we strongly believe both parties are working in good faith, otherwise we would not have signed the agreement.”
Munengiwa, who earlier on said workers would press for an over PDL basic pay, said employees would return to work if they get the $10 000 offered by council saying “salary review in an inflationary environment is an ongoing process which can’t be cast in stone.”
City mayor Josiah Makombe said the deal was a win-win situation which ensured that the working conditions of workers were “addressed and at the same time, service delivery not interrupted.”
But several workers who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation said they felt “short-changed” by their leaders who signed the agreement without consultations.
“When we agreed for an industrial action, there were wider consultations. Workers even voted in favour of the strike. Now they sign agreements whose contents we are not even aware of,” said one worker.
Another employee said they were shocked to learn that their leaders had decided “to go to bed with the enemy.”