MUTARE — A deep sense of anxiety has gripped Mutare City Council’s 350 contract workers following reports that the local authority was planning to terminate their contracts, citing subdued revenue inflows.
BY OBEY MANAYITI
The workers told NewsDay yesterday that their anxiety had been worsened by council’s refusal to disclose how many of them would be affected by the exercise.
Council officials who declined to be named said the matter would soon be tabled at a special full council meeting.
“We are trying to control our salary bill,” a senior council official who declined to be named said.
“We haven’t renewed the contracts of the majority and heads of department were tasked to look into critical areas where staff should be retained.
“At the moment, we have renewed contracts of critical staff drawn from refuse collection, street sweeping and public convenience.
“We will look into other departments.”
Contacted for comment over the weekend, the city’s mayor Tatenda Nhamarare confirmed the development although he said the number of affected employees would be announced at a later date.
“We don’t have the figures as of now, but definitely we are downsizing,” he said.
However, other councillors said they would shoot down the proposal as it would put them on a collision course with the electorate.
“The council is dominated by MDC-T councillors,” one councillor said.
“We were not officially advised of the idea to lay off contract workers only to hear it from the workers themselves.
“People will say we are insensitive because service delivery will be affected.
“We want collective decisions and I am sure such matters need input from everyone. We will fight unilateralism.”
In April last year, Mutare was faced with a similar situation resulting in a war of words between the councillors and management, with the former accusing the latter of trying to frustrate their re-election ahead of the July 2013 harmonised elections.