Council workers most hit by wage theft-Survey

Staff reporter

Urban council workers are the most affected by non payment of salaries according to a report done by Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) an affiliate body of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). 22 378 municipal workers were affected by this scourge and the average number of months without pay is nine months.

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LEDRIZ graph showing sector breakdow of unpaid workers

Speaking in Parliament MDC-T Vice President Nelson Chamisa blamed the cancellation of debt against resident who owed council as the major cause of bankruptcy in urban councils. Most councils had borrowed from financial institutions and their capacity to pay was affected by government’s decision to cancel debt on the eve of the 2013 election.

A resident, Samuel Kuhanga however dismissed Chamisa’s mourning arguing that councils were overpaying their executives through salaries and allowances. He said that this is what bankrupted the councils.

He said “How can you have a situation where one executive takes home $40000 every month? How much is council collecting in revenue to afford this? These people were not following the 30:70 ratio that stipulates that wage expenditure must not exceed 30% of revenue”

Various urban councils were involved in salary scandals in 2014 but despite directives to lower salaries, council executives have continued to pay themselves hefty salaries and allowances.

Urban Council workers are not the only workers affected. At least 97 companies have not paid 12034 workers their salaries in the agriculture sector. At least one company hasn’t paid 1500 tobacco industry workers despite reports that the tobacco industry is booming in the country.

15 Transport operating companies were not paying their 103 workers. Transport operators argue that the business is no longer viable because of high costs of maintaining fleet of commercial vehicles.

“The roads are in a bad state and this damages our vehicles. How can we also make money when the police and other authorities are determined to milk us dry? It is not sustainable anymore” said an executive with a big transport logistics company who refused to be named.

The banking sector was the least affected by non payment of salaries with only one bank recorded to have failed to pay 10 employees.

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