A letter seen by Radio VOP written to the two workers Unions, the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU) and Gweru municipal Workers Union (GMWU), the chamber Secretary Richard Masinire, said the council had been experiencing cash flow problems due to the failure by ratepayers to service their accounts timeously.
“This has resulted in Council failing to pay wages and salaries by month end. However you will realise that efforts have always been made to ensure that employees get their wages and salaries in full not later than a week after due date. Please advise employees that the situation may persist for quite some time,” read part of the letter.
The same letter was also copied to different council directors.
The finance director, Edgar Mwedzi, said in an interview that cash flows had not improved the council coffers. Mwedzi said at the moment the council was using 48.8 ‘per cent’ of the total revenue of the councils’ inflows for salaries yet the Ministry of Local Government had said council should use 30 ‘per cent’ and below for labour costs while the remaining percentage should then be used to improve service delivery.
Workers who spoke to Radio VOP said they were threatened with evictions from their homes because of failing to pay rent.
“Landlords want to chase us out because every month end we council workers give them headache as we fail to pay our rentals. The problem is that we now do not even know what date we will get the money so that we can assure the landlords that the money is coming,” said one affected council worker.
Another council worker however said he felt that the council did not priorities salaries.
“They are able to buy each other food every council meeting. We are never told that the councilors have failed to be given the food or their allowances after council meeting but they always fail to pay us on time because they do not have money. Recently they bought the mayor a Prado valued over US$32 000 yet there was already a mayoral car,”
Some of the council workers allege that while the council was failing to pay its workers, it was on a massive recruitment drive.
Among the challenge of failing to pay its workers, the city council had also failed to provide clean and consistent water supply to the city, which in the past used to boast of supplying the cleanest water in the country. The city council had also failed to repair the pot-holed infested roads.