Staff regrading torches storm at town council

Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
Gokwe Town Council is at loggerheads with its workers after implementing a job and salary regrading exercise across the board that has seen some employees being downgraded and earning less money.

The disgruntled employees have since taken the local authority to the Labour Court.

In an interview yesterday, town secretary Ms Melania Mandeya said council was only implementing recommendations from a job evaluation exercise carried out in 2018.

“We embarked on a job and salary regrading exercise following a job evaluation exercise done last year,” she said. “Most of the employees were just employed and put in certain positions with required qualifications. Some were earning what they didn’t deserve.

“So, we embarked on job and salary regrading exercise which has seen downgrading of grades and salary adjustments which the employees are fighting.”

Ms Mandeya said her council had two options, either to retrench some employees or implement the job and salary regrading exercise.

“But then we said why not reduce their salaries so that we remain viable,” she said. “So, this matter is in court and we await its ruling,” she said.

Council, said Ms Mandeya, was facing a myriad of challenges emanating from failure by residents and companies to settle their debts.

Ms Mandeya said notable achievements after carrying out the job evaluation exercise was that council had managed to reduce its salary backlog from 24 to 12 months.

“The local authority has about 100 employees and has been battling to clear a salary backlog,” she said.

Ms Mandeya said council had managed to purchase service delivery equipment after topping up on $100 000 they got from the Government under devolution exercise.

She said the local authority had made payments towards the purchase of tractor drawn refuse collection truck, a new tractor and a tractor drawn grader.

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