The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it has a shortage of 500 workers and this has affected service delivery across the city.
The mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said the council is understaffed and due to lack of capital they are incapacitated to hire more people than they already have.
While updating residents on the state of the city, the mayor raised concern over the harsh economic conditions that are hindering their employees to fully execute their duties.
“The current economic situation has impacted negatively on staff welfare as transport and taxi fares have gone up affecting staff movement to and from work. Council has made the necessary adjustments to allow staff to report for duty,” he said.
Cllr Mguni said since 2010, the council has not filled vacant posts as per the demand by the situation because of the restrictions on the filling of vacant positions.
“As a result, staff levels are low and affect service delivery negatively. While the Council Resolution of May 2010-restricting filling of vacant positions and Central Government Directive of September 2010, restricting employment in local authorities have constrained the council’s ability to employ,” said the mayor.
He added they are in engagement with Minister of Local Government Public Works and National Housing July Moyo to fill the gaps.
Cllr Mguni expressed concern over the struggles faced by the city council staff as their salaries can hardly sustain them to meet the ever-rising cost of living.
“In reality, salaries have been devalued by 2.5% over and above the 42% inflation. Regrettably, if the economic situation continues to decline, the council may see a repeat of what happened a few years that preceded the dollarisation of the economy.
“These were continued erosion of salaries, failure to match the demand for salary increments due to limited revenues, strained employer/ employee relations and serious skills flight as well as demoralisation and demotivation of the remaining staff,” he said.
Cllr Mguni noted if the situation did not get better, absenteeism and increased cases of injury at work would grossly affect the council resulting in low productivity and poor service delivery.
He said the local authority will, however, continue to engage its workers as much as possible and
“We are aware of the huge mandate that rests on the City of Bulawayo to continue to provide services and we assure consumers of our commitment to make Bulawayo a smart and transformative city in spite of these challenges.
“We remain committed to improving dialogue with stakeholders whilst improving efficiency and accountability in our services,” said the mayor.