Umguza Rural District Council (RDC) and the Zimbabwe Rural District Council Workers’ Union (ZRDCWU) are locked in a dispute over implementation of a 30% arbitration salary increment recently awarded to workers by a Harare-based arbitrator.
The local authority claims the proposed increase would cripple service delivery as it was only collecting $65 000 revenue per month against a current wage bill of $42 000.
Council CEO Collin Moyo said the proposed increase would push the wage bill to $55 555 per month.
ZRDWCU secretary-general James Chafungamoyo Gumbi told NewsDay his union, through the National Employment Council for the sector, had previously negotiated for the workers to get a minimum wage of $223 per month.
He said the workers’ committee approached Moyo over the proposed increment, but the latter ignored the issue. Gumbi said on May 17, the union wrote a letter to council informing them the employees were seeking a 49% salary increment.
“We were told we have no business to do with the council issues,” said Gumbi.
“We then referred the matter to the National Employment Council and finally to the arbitrator. Both the union and the local authority appeared before the arbitrator.”
He said the arbitrator awarded workers a 30% increment with effect from April this year. Accordingly, the least paid worker was expected to take home $289 per month.
“The local authority is still reneging on effecting the increment,” said Gumbi.
“We have made an application to the High Court for the arbitration award to be registered for the sake of its enforcement. It is sad when we hear that management is now harassing workers suspected to be pushing for the effecting of the increment.”