MUTARE — Some 50 Mutare City Council workers downed tools and stormed the civic centre yesterday demanding bonuses and other outstanding benefits.
Acting Mutare mayor George Jerison confirmed the industrial action, but dismissed it as illegal and politically-motivated.
“This is politics at play,” Jerison said.
“We have an agreed plan to pay their bonuses by end of May. It’s just a few workers who are trying to cause confusion here and no one should take them seriously because they are leading an illegal strike.”
Two weeks ago, council refuse collectors staged a two-day work stoppage in protest over the non-availability of protective clothing.
Workers’ committee chairperson Baya Musa vowed to continue pressing for payment of the outstanding benefits.
Musa said they would not call off the strike until the local authority had given in to their demands.
“Our cause is genuine. Council is not remitting our pension funds, there is no money for medical aid, funeral policies and up to now we haven’t received our bonus,” Musa said.
“This is an insult to us. They are splashing money on unnecessary luxuries at the expense of workers. We were supposed to get our money by December, but look, up to now we are still talking about bonus.
“How could management say we are on an illegal strike yet we have police clearance? We are not accepting any intimidatory tactics by management.”
Jerison denied allegations council recently bought luxury vehicles for top management, arguing the local authority had approved loans for managers as part of their staff retention scheme.