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The workers were riled by council’s decision to spend big on their participation at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)

ABOUT 15 City of Harare employees spent Monday night at Town House protesting over non payment of salaries stretching up to six months.

The workers were riled by council’s decision to spend big on their participation at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) which took place in Bulawayo last week instead of paying their outstanding salaries.

According to minutes tabled before the full council meeting ahead of ZITF, council approved a whopping US$36 000 budget for the event.

The money covered exhibition costs, accommodation for participating staff members and their allowances.

Workers were probably most incensed by mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni, who did not waste time to proudly publicise his time at ZITF on the social media.

“Very happy to be in Bulawayo, the city of kings – this very well-run city – the envy of many,” he wrote on Facebook.

After that, he posted a picture of himself and the mayoress about to ride the famed Rolls-Royce, the British traditional imperial car, accompanied with the caption: “Trade Fair 2015 – time to reconnect with our rich British influence, Fran and I just joining the long mayoral procession from city hall Bulawayo to the fair grounds.”

Harare Municipal Workers Union chairperson, Cosmas Bungu, said the decision to demonstrate was aimed at piling pressure on council management to consider their plight.

“Council workers slept at Town House after the employer failed to pay us for six months and yet they could afford to pay themselves US$2 500 in allowances for ZITF and book themselves in expensive hotels in Bulawayo,” Bungu said.

Council management has since panicked following the demonstration and is now engaged in talks with the workers union.

City of Harare spokesman, Michael Chideme, confirmed that council management was negotiating with the workers’ representatives over the outstanding salaries.

“Management is in discussions with the workers’ union at the moment to try and find a lasting solution to the issue. City of Harare sympathises with the workers’ plight and efforts are underway to try and clear the arrears,” said Chedeme.

“We would also like to state that exhibiting at ZITF has long-term benefits for the city because that is where we meet investors and market Harare to attract those who would want to do business with and in the city. We have immensely benefitted a lot from previous trade fairs and we needed to be there to market the city,” he said.

Source : Financial Gazette