BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
THE cash-strapped Marondera Municipality has shot down staff demands that would have seen it forking out $1,8 million in COVID-19 allowances.
This was revealed during a recent full council meeting where both management and policymakers resolved to pay the allowances to frontline workers only, especially those in the health department.
Council finance director John Kachingwe told the municipality that they needed at least $1,8 million for staff allowances.
“If we are to pay all the workers their COVID-19 allowances equivalent to US$75, we will need around $1,8 million which will dwindle our coffers. However, we have real frontline staff, the nurses who are dealing with this issue, they are less than 50 and we will need at least $350 000 which is reasonable,” Kachingwe said.
Some of the council workers include fumigators of residential houses, premises and undertakers.
Recently, the local authority gave in to workers’ demands for a salary review although its revenue streams have dwindled due to prolonged lockdowns.
Council agreed to pay its workers a cushioning allowance, with the least paid worker getting $3 500.
Ward 10 councillor Jimmy Jalifu said there was need for council to strike a balance between workers’ welfare and council’s cash flows.
“My worry is on failure to attend to service delivery despite giving in to workers’ monetary demands. Today, they are demanding COVID- 19 allowances, but we have areas with burst sewer pipes for weeks that are not being attended to.
“Last week, we gave them a cushioning allowance but it is not corresponding to the work on the ground, especially service delivery. We are diverting money and energy to workers’ demands and not service delivery, which should be our top priority,” Jalifu said.