Gwanda fails to pay workers

The Zanu PF-controlled Gwanda Town Council is yet to pay its workers salaries for August as the local authority battles a severe financial squeeze.

Own Correspondent

The municipality only managed to clear outstanding salaries for July last week as local authorities begin to feel the effects of a government directive to write off debts owed by rate payers since 2009.

Workers who spoke on condition of anonymity said they were struggling to make ends meet due to delays in payment of their salaries.

“Our salaries have also been written off as we are yet to receive our August salaries,” one of the workers said.

“What pains us is that our children are continually being sent home for non-payment of fees.”

Council wrote off outstanding debts amounting to $3 140 000 owed by residents. Town clerk Gilbert Mlilo said they feared delays in paying workers would see staff resorting to industrial action.

“As a law abiding council, we complied with the directive. However, this is likely is to affect our salaries and we may have the 2011 situation where workers ended up striking in a bid to press for their salaries,” he said .

In the past, council resorted to water disconnections in a bid to raise salaries and wages. Last Friday, the local authority targeted owners of commercial stands who owe it $600 000 in unpaid water charges.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo ordered the cancellation of debts in the run-up to the July polls in a move critics said would affect the running of local authorities.

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