9 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza to Lay Off 108 Workers

Chitungwiza Municipality will now dismiss 108 workers after only 24 employees went home on voluntary retrenchment. Council is struggling to pay workers due to dwindling revenues. It owes them millions of dollars. The municipality's human resources manager, Mrs Mary Mukonyora, told a full council meeting recently that there was need to revisit the retrenchment exercise.

"In our September monthly report, council employees' number has reduced from 1 131 to 1 107 during the month under review. During the same month we managed to retrench 12 employees on voluntary retrenchment. On the issue of legal matters, in the month of September we had 81 cases, which are before the courts or arbitrators," said Mrs Mukonyora.

"The majority of the cases are of employees whose contracts have been terminated and are suing council for either non-payment of salary arrears or terminal benefits. We have been trying to negotiate with these workers for out of court settlements."

She said this led council to consider making a payment plan with the workers.

"However, due to our financial constraints we fail to comply in paying as per agreed position so in a month we have an obligation of $63 200 for payment plan. In our October report, we recorded a reduction in employees and we now have 1 107 and during the same month we managed to retrench 12 employees," she said.

Mrs Mukonyora said council used about $115 000 for packages, while the same employees were coming to enquire on their terminal benefits.

"We had 96 cases where council is being sued by employees and the number reduced to 72 after we negotiated for a payment plan," she said.

Acting chamber secretary Ms Charity Maunga said: "Yes Mr Chairman (Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira), we now have a proposed list of employees compiled for compulsory retrenchment. In terms of the Labour Act we have to consult the works council so anytime next week we are going to sit in a meeting to discuss that issue.

"The list is already there and the number is 108 because we are going to do it in phases so some of the logistics the head of HR is trying to complete as to how much it will cost us to retrench them."

Mr Pawadyira agreed with the position taken.

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