HARARE COUNCIL BOSSES LOSES MEGA SALARIES CASE | Harare City Council executives have lost a claim to have their mega salaries and benefits reduced by council reinstated after a labour officer ruled that the city was complying with a Government directive.
The 31 managerial council employees had taken their matter to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare for arbitration by a labour officer as Government arbitrator.
They argued that the local authority had unilaterally reduced their perks with effect from August 15, 2015. Former town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi was the city’s biggest earner at $27 000 a month, excluding vehicle, housing, airtime and workshop allowances.
Lower grade 1-3 executives earned no less than $14 000 per month.
In their claim the executives said their salaries were contractual. Government set salary caps for parastatal and local authorities bosses after it emerged that most heads of State entities were paying themselves “obscene” salaries and perks instead of funding service delivery to residents and ratepayers.
The salary structure for management at Harare City Council set up by Government saw the town clerk earning $10 475,75 per month.
According to recent minutes of the Human Resources and General Purpose Committee, Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube notified council of the labour officer’s ruling.
“The labour officer had dismissed the employees’ claim on the basis that council had acted inter alia, in compliance with a ministerial directive. An application for confirmation of the ruling had been made by the labour officer to the Labour Court,” she said.
Following discussion, the committee resolved to recommend that council notes the ruling by the labour officer dismissing the claim by 31 managerial employees of council.
In their application the city managers claimed they were never consulted and did not agree to have their pay reduced.
“It would appear that council took this unlawful decision on the strength of a communication from Engineer George Mlilo, the Secretary for Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, who is not our clients’ employer and whose conduct is repugnant with the principle of privity of contract as between our clients and City of Harare,” said the managers
“A unilateral variation of employment contracts occurs where the employer changes or alters an employee’s conditions of service without securing such employee’s consent with the result that the employee is prejudiced.”
They further argued that any variation of a contract of employment without consent of the employee would be a unilateral variation which was unlawful.