BY BRENNA MATENDERE
GWERU City Council workers have shelved their planned demonstration which was meant for yesterday and instead gave their employer 14 days to address their grievances, Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers’ Union Gweru chairperson, Kudakwashe Munengiwa has confirmed.
The council workers are demanding that the local authority implements a High Court order reversing salary cuts instituted by then Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere in 2014.
The workers also want the long service package for pensioners, scrapped during same period, to be reinstated.
Munengiwa revealed that council had roped in officials from the Labour Court to halt the demonstration.
“We have agreed to give the employer 14 days to address our demands and so we decided to shelve the demonstration. The agreement was put in black and white after intervention by some officers from the Labour Court. A programme of action on what must be happening in the 14 days has been put in place and on 11 March we gather to review what the employer would have done and if nothing comes out then we are going for a full-blown strike,” he said.
According to a letter in Southern Eye’s possession, signed by council chamber secretary Vakai Douglas Chikwekwe dated February 27, 2019 and addressed to Munengiwa, the two parties will meet before a conciliator on March 11 to discuss progress on the sticking issues. Three days before that date, the city fathers will have met in a full council meeting to discuss the offer to workers.
The letter reads: “As agreed… we have the following roadmap as per the schedule of council meetings… Friday 8th March 2019 at 3:00pm, ordinary council meeting. Monday 11 March 2019 at 14:00hours to resume proceedings before the conciliator.”
Kasukuwere ordered a salary cut of up to 58% for council employees in October 2014.
The workers went on to challenge the decision at the High Court and an order was granted in 2016 for reversal of the ministerial directive.
However, council has not complied with the High Court order, leading to the current stalemate.