Gweru mayor issues ultimatum to striking workers

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Hamutendi Kombayi
Hamutendi Kombayi
Hamutendi Kombayi

GWERU mayor Hamutendi Kombayi has pleaded with workers to stop their strike which has paralysed services in the city.

By Stephen Chadenga

Workers have been on strike since Tuesday to pressure the cash-strapped local authority to pay them back pay from April to July 2014.

Kombayi described the strike as illegal, saying it had greatly inconvenienced residents and ratepayers.

He said residents were of the view that workers were being overpaid and were surprised that they had done on an industrial action.

“I really don’t have choice. I represent the residents of Gweru, most of whom are saying the salary is too high and they want their services (sic),” Kombayi said on social network, Facebook.

“Most (residents) are saying they will work at half the price. What do you what me to do this strike is illegal, workers please show that you have the residents at heart they are my boss, I am telling you protect your jobs go back to work (sic).”

The employees have, however, vowed they will continue with the strike until their demands are met.

Kombayi wrote another post on his Facebook wall where he threatened workers with expulsion if they continued with their strike.

“As the mayor of Gweru, I am saying to all Gweru City Council employees, if you don’t report to work by 10.30am, you are fired. You cannot hold the city of Gweru at ransom (sic),” he said.

“I will make a resolution that grade one notch one gets $250 plus transport and house benefits. I will start to employ so I can clean Gweru. I am sweeping I am removing all rubbish. I will be moving around if the boss don’t make registered proof you are fired meet at court plenty people who want work (sic).”

The employees, however, vowed they would continue with the strike until their demands were met.

“We will not be threatened by the mayor’s antics,” workers’ committee organiser, Simbarashe Leboho said.

A week ago the workers impounded council vehicles to block management and councillors from attending the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair in Bulawayo.