Harare City workers threaten strike over poor remuneration

The secret ballot by Harare City workers that endorsed a strike

By Desire Tshuma

Harare City Council workers are threatening to embark on a serious industrial action beginning next week, accusing their employer of failing to address their plight arising out of poor remuneration.

The four City of Harare aligned workers’ unions converged at one of their offices to count where they were unanimous that despite approached their employer on salary increment, nothing materialised hence they were left with no option but were being forced to take industrial action.

”Currently, our members are getting RTGS$4 000. Some are boarding transport twice to reach their workplaces. They are living in lodgings and pay rentals and school fees. With the current cost of living how can someone can survive with this little salary ?,” fumed Cosmas Bhunyu who is the Executive Chairman for Harare Municipal Workers Union.

Harare city council workers’ unions are requesting the employer to adjust workers’ salaries up to RTGS$20 000 from the paltry RTGS$4 000.

Harare city workers are 9 000 in total.

”As trade unions, we should safeguard the interests of our workers. We have now reached a point of no agreement with our paymaster. That is why we have conducted a secret ballot by our workers for the way forward,”said Sam Konde.

”We have a total number of nine thousand workers. During the Covid-19 lockdown, half of our workers were in lockdown, and after the President relaxed the lockdown conditions those who were in lockdown were instructed to come back to work. When we aired our pay increment plight they (employer) said those who were in lockdown should go back again in the lockdown fearing that if our workers vote in large numbers for industrial action, we will win the issue,” narrated Konde who is the Secretary-General for the Municipal Workers Union.

The secret balloting was done by the worker’s unions across Harare and counting was done on Thursday in front of the cameras and journalists. Out of 4 865 workers, 4680 voted in favour of the industrial action.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende