BULAWAYO City Council workers have demanded that they be paid a US$200 cushion allowance per month which they say is meant to cater for foreign currency demands in the economy.
In a position letter sent to council management, Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers Union (Bulawayo branch) demanded that council revisits their wage calculation system noting that awarding a worker anything below the
Poverty Datum Line means denying a worker’s right to basic needs, which they noted as being inhumane. The union further demanded that the basic salary for the lowest paid worker be pegged at ZWL$66 500.
“While it has become a norm to present our position paper based on the trends of the Poverty Datum Line and focusing on the grade one notch one salary, it is sadly noted that very little attention has been given to the importance that wages go in tandem with it as Council has continued to award the grade one personnel a salary wage that is below the PDL. As we write, the salary, for grade one personnel is just half way below the Poverty Datum Line and this translates to the fact that the referred Council employees are living in poverty,” reads part of the letter.
The union questioned the mechanism used by the local authority to calculate salaries, noting that the Poverty Datum Line is the guideline and bench mark which represents the standard of living that must be attained if a person is to be reckoned not poor.
“Further council must pay a basic salary of ZWL$66 600 for the lowest paid worker and pay US$200 per month cushioning allowance, this is due to cater for foreign currency demands such as rentals, medication and other commodities,” reads part of position letter.
The workers further implored that due to the unpredictable and unstable inflation, quarterly meetings be held to review the salaries. However, in response the local authority dismissed the workers’ demands as unsustainable but instead suggested that workers from grade one to six have their notches reduced from six to four and instead increase the basic pay for the lowest paid from ZWL$19 605 to ZWL$33 500, which would result in a 71 percent salary increment for grades one to six and one percent for all other grades.
“Following careful analysis of the request two scenarios were formulated in order to comprehend the resultant financial implications as reflected in the attached informative fact sheet. The Financial Director has been consulted and he has indicated that the Union’s original request is financially unsustainable.
“To that end, focus has been shifted to the second financial modelling was achieved after reducing two notches from six to four in the pay scale of the lowest paid worker (Grade One). According to projections, the success of the second option if adopted clearly lies in Council’s ability to collect revenue effectively. To that end robust measures would be explored and implemented with a view to maximise revenue collection in order to sustain Council’s service delivery at the optimum level,” reads the report. Sunday News