Gokwe council, workers fight over salary arrears

Gokwe town house


Gokwe Town Council workers are up in arms with their employer for failing to implement a Labour Court ruling that nullified a job regrading exercise which employees say reduced their earnings.

The council implemented a grading exercise in 2018, but workers successfully challenged its implementation.

Workers, who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity, said council had ignored the court ruling to restore workers to their initial grades.

“We took the council to court and it is on record that we won the case. However, council has failed to reinstate us to our grades as stated by the court.”

A member of the workers committee told NewsDay that the job evaluation and regrading exercise was aimed at cutting costs, and not improving service delivery.

“Our employer has spent more than $200 000 in legal fees since the start of this dispute. We think these are  double standards because they could instead have paid the workers.”

In July last year, the Labour Court ordered council “to reinstate the workers to their previous grades and pay salary arrears”.

Council chairperson Never Gwanzura said they were still consulting before implementing the court ruling.

“As council, we seek legal advice from council lawyers before doing anything,” he said

However, councillor Davis Taruvinga (Zanu PF) told Newsday that he was facing backlash from MDC-T councillors siding with the council management in delaying the reinstatement of workers to their previous grades,

“Personally, I want to see employees being paid their salaries and reinstated to their grades as per the court ruling,” he said.

“Apart from the Labour Court ruling, the district development co-ordinator, the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing minister and the legal opinion that was sought by council was clear on the issue that council should reinstate the workers to their grades,” he said.

NewsDay saw a memorandum from the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry written in October last year advising council that it should respect the rule of law and reinstate workers to their previous grades as stated by the Labour

Acting town secretary Joseph Madhlokuwa said council was facing challenges in raising funds to clear salary arrears.

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