Chitungwiza Municipality has struck off 629 posts from its establishment in an effort to reduce a huge wage bill that is consuming its monthly collections. About 370 of the posts were already frozen. Town clerk Mr George Makunde disclosed the downsizing.
"We are restructuring. The restructuring is meant to reduce the workforce and wage bill to acceptable levels," he said.
The council establishment has over 2 232 employees.
At the moment the council employs 1 863 and wants to reduce the figures to 1 724.
"We have knocked out 629 positions. This means significant savings," he said.
Nearly 100 of the staff were nearing retirement and did not have critical skills.
Previous restructuring efforts have failed because of worker resistance and failure to raise exit packages.
"We will be implementing the new organogram in the first quarter of this year," he said.
Chitungwiza bills for US$2,2 million every month but only manages to collect US$1,4 million against a net salary bill of the same amount.
"Our gross salary bill is US$1,7 million. The net salary bill is US$1,4 million. What we are collecting is equivalent to what we are supposed to pay in salaries," he said.
He said council had devised mechanisms to balance between service delivery and payment of salaries.
He said of the amounts collected the council made sure part of it was channelled towards service delivery.
"When we collect, say, US$500 000, we look at work to be done. We allocate a percentage to service delivery because it is out of service delivery that our residents will pay us more.
"We then sit with our employees and agree on salary payment schedules," he said.
Recent media reports indicate that the council has also introduced a contract-based system for its workers.
Under the system workers would report for duty for 15 days in a month with their salaries calculated based on the number of days worked.
Chitungwiza Municipality has in the past attracted attention for the wrong reasons ranging from corruption, worker unrest and infighting between councillors and management.