Harare City Council has cushioned its employees against economic hardships in line with arbitral awards granted to workers for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for the year 2018 as well as Hardship/Cushioning Allowance for 2019.
Council will not increase rates to fund the employee costs but willsweat its various assets and explore new revenue streams to generate value.
Some workers had stopped reporting for duty because they could not afford transport costs.
Addressing a press conference Human Resources and General Purposes Committee chairperson councillor Jacob Mafume said council has to cushion its employees from the spiralling cost of living and the various hardships they are facing.
“A joint Human Resources and General Purposes Committee/Finance Committee meeting was held on, Tuesday 27 August 2019 to consider the outcomes of the Arbitral awards for Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for the year 2018 as well as Hardship/Cushioning Allowance for 2019,” he said.
“The ruling on COLA 2018 comes at the backdrop of negotiations done between the Employee party and the Employer party which was aimed at reviewing salaries for year 2018. The Hardship Allowance negotiations were conducted on the premises of the current economic hardships that are being experienced by City of Harare employees and the nation in general.”
He said in particular, the Hardship Allowance is an interim measure meant to cushion employees from the current harsh economic environment pending conclusion of negotiations for 2019 COLA.
Following the joint HRGPC/Finance Committee meeting, Council resolved to honour the arbitral awards by paying the 6 percent COLA for 2018 and ZWL$125,00 Hardship Allowance in line with the outcome of the arbitral awards.
The resolution by the HRGPC/Finance Committee to honour the awards is in recognition of the hardships that the employees are currently undergoing as a result of the economic challenges.
The $125 Hardship Allowance translates to a 56 percent increment on basic salary for the least paid employee and the allowance shall cut across all the CBA-Graded employees on a sliding scale which will see the highest graded employee receiving 7 percent increment on basic salary.
Cllr Mafume said one of the key factors of achieving a World Class City Status is a happy and satisfied workforce.
“This increment is far less according to the current bread basket level. We are struggling and hamstrung financially but we cannot let our employees suffer. We are in a process of crafting a supplementary budget and let me assure you that the city will not burden ratepayers by increasing rates,” he said.
“In this regard, the city is exploring ways of expanding revenue streams and optimizing collections. These include but not limited to regularization of settlements, blitz to collect what the city is owed ($900 million), revenue trend analysis, remove space barons, automate revenue collections and review the leasing arrangement/process,” he said.