Bulawayo Council Not Aware Its Workers Are On Strike

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has professed ignorance over reports its strong workforce has embarked on an indefinite industrial action over poor salaries, severely crippling service delivery and other critical services in the city.

The employees, this Wednesday, embarked on an indefinite strike demanding a living wage based on the poverty datum line pegged at a minimum of $20 000.

The disgruntled workers maintain their job action would continue until their salaries are adjusted.

However, the local authority’s deputy mayor Mlandu Ncube expressed ignorance over the industrial action when contacted for comment.

“Actually, we are yet to establish if they (workers) are on strike or not. If they are on strike, we are going to sit down with them and look into their grievances. We are a listening council,” he told Friday.

“We will look into their grievances and if they are addressable, we are going to address them. We value our workers. They are an important stakeholder in our service delivery.”

Since Wednesday, residents have been failing to access primary health care as council clinics are closed. There is an unbearable stink of uncollected garbage in sanitary lanes in the city and most residential areas.

The Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’ Union (ZUCWU) Bulawayo branch chairperson, Ambrose Sibindi confirmed the workers had embarked on an industrial action over poor salaries.

“BCC employees are hungry, frustrated, depressed and are unable to fend for themselves and their families due to poor salaries. As such, workers have decided not to report to work starting from January 13 due to incapacitation,” he said.

“Until our demands of improved remuneration are addressed, we will not be going to work. The supplementary budget has since been approved by the central government, but BCC employees were shocked when they heard there will not be any salary increment.”

The government last December approved BCC’s supplementary budget, which has seen rates going up by 372% beginning this month.