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Hillcrest College in financial crisis


HILLCREST College, an elite private college based in Mutare, has reportedly been hit hard by a financial squeeze forcing it to introduce a short working week to reduce the wage bill.


Workers told NewsDay yesterday that school authorities were also mooting slashing teachers’ salaries by 20%. Some of the teachers at the college are reportedly earning between $1 000 and $1 500 per month depending on their grades while general workers’ wages were pegged at between $250 and $500.

Acting headmaster Obert Chitongo in a recent memo addressed to staff confirmed the college’s financial situation.

Part of the memo read: “Following the works council deadlock on the proposal by management to introduce the short time work system in 2015 as a special measure to avert retrenchment in terms of section 12 D (2) of the Labour Act, in light of the financial challenges the school is facing.An application will be submitted to the National Employment Council for Educational Institutions Retrenchment Committee for approval to place workers on short time work. In the interim, you will be placed on short time work starting this month (January) pending the approval by the Nec retrenchment committee.”

Chitongo added: ‘’You are further advised that while you are working short time you shall be paid the hourly equivalent of your weekly or month wage for the hours actually worked.”

However, disgruntled workers who spoke on condition of anonymity disputed the claims saying the school authorities were just out to fix them for successfully fighting for payment of their pack-pays.

“I think they are trying to fix us after we won our case of back-pays of 2009. We are going to approach the authorities because this is just unfair. We are going to sit down with them so that that they can reverse their decision,’’ one of the affected workerssaid.

The college, which attracts children from well-to-do families mainly from Mutare, comprises a preparatory, primary and secondary school.

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