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Gweru council workers protest

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GWERU City Council workers yesterday took to the streets demanding payment of outstanding salaries and bonuses.

BY Stephen Chadenga/
Ivan Ndlovu

Workers took advantage of their tea break to stage the protest, waving placards denouncing “corrupt” council management and councillors.

Some of the placards denounced finance committee chairperson councillor Albert Chirau, accusing him of corruption.

Chirau last week appeared before the Gweru courts facing allegations of defrauding the MDC-T-controlled local authority.

Council workers’ committee spokesperson Cornelia Selipiwe told hundreds of workers gathered outside municipal officers that employees were fed up with management for failing to address their grievances.

“We just want of our salaries and it’s as simple as that,” Selipiwe said.

“We are still to get December 2014 salaries and the back pay for April to July 2014.”

Selipiwe said more protests were being planned to persuade management to address their grievances. He said workers were seeking permission from the Labour ministry to go on strike, accusing management and councillors of wasting money through drawing travelling allowances for trips he said did not benefit council.

“This (demonstration) is just an introduction. We have peacefully protested during our tea break, but we have since applied for a strike,” he said.

“We don’t want management and councillors who blow money on useless travels as if they are tourists.

“This is not politicking, but a serious issue that affects workers.”

Simbarashe Leboho, the workers’ committee organiser said in future they would stage protests during tea and lunch breaks until council addressed their grievances.

Town clerk Daniel Matawu refused to comment on the latest developments.

Gweru City Council has been struggling to meet salary obligations and blames declining revenue for its predicament.

Council only paid workers November 2014 salaries in February this year.

The majority of the country’s local authorities are struggling financially after the government in 2013 ordered them to write off bills that accumulated since 2009.

A sizeable number of ratepayers are failing to pay bills due to high unemployment while government departments take too long to fulfil obligations.

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