Urban council workers challenge salary cuts

THE Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers’ Union (Zucwu) has petitioned the government-appointed commission in charge of Gweru City Council to reverse its decision to unilaterally cut their salaries, saying the move was a breach of labour laws.

by Stephen Chadenga

In a letter dated December 1, addressed to commission chairperson, Tsunga Mhangami, Zucwu secretary-general, Moses Tshimukeni Mahlangu said the union would take legal action should council fail to reverse salary cuts.

Moses Mahlangu

Mahlangu said the Labour Act was very clear in arbitrary salary cuts by employers and urged council to reinstate salaries to their previous levels.

“In the circumstances, your good office is advised to reverse all the salary cuts that have been effected, as well as stopping any pending issues on the subject,” part of the letter read.

“May your good office, within a week from this date of this letter, advise my office on the steps taken to rectify this anomaly, failure of which, legal action will be taken to enforce this clearly enshrined right.”

Mahlangu said all salary arrears should be paid within a month from the date of conciliation or determination.

Workers at the local authority are owed seven months’ salary in arrears.

“As guided by the enunciated provisions of law, no party can wish off a legally binding collective bargaining agreement without inviting the wrath of the law,” Mahlangu said.

In August this year, the three-member commission proposed to cut the workers and managers’ salaries by 50%, arguing that the salaries were too high and not commensurate with the local authority’s revenue inflows.

Gweru’s wage bill currently stands at $888 000 per month, which is about 72% of its monthly income.

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