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Protest of 200 workers at the door of the mayor's office in Nampula. Photo: DW
Paulo Vahanle’s management faces its first “major conflict” since April 18, when he took office as mayor Nampula, in northern Mozambique.
Despite several meetings with the authorities, more than 200 municipal workers in Nampula in the north of Mozambique demonstrated outside City Hall on Tuesday after being dismissed allegedly without just cause or warning. The workers are also demanding overdue subsidies and four years holiday pay.
It is the first time the municipality headed by Paulo Vahanle has seen a conflict of this magnitude, to which it replies that those demonstrating were not actually employees but service providers with whom the municipality had decided not to renew contracts. The city council also denies that the workers were not informed beforehand.
The 200 workers, primarily employed in sanitation and funeral management and mostly women, say they only want clarification on the termination of their employment contracts, because they had been told nothing so far.
Grounds for dismissal unknown
One dismissed worker, who declined to identify himself, told our report that he did not understand the real reason for his dismissal.
“We have not received salaries [this month], nor subsidies, and we have not been on vacation for five years since 2014. But we are protesting that we have been expelled without any explanation. They did not tell us anything about our dismissal. This is not normal,” he said.
Jorge Luis is another worker dismissed by the municipality who, in addition to lamenting his situation, denounces nepotism in the institution. “Those who stayed here are brothers, nephews, uncles and brothers-in-law of the chiefs, and those who have no contact with the leaders or the leaders of Renamo do not have access to the work. The people have been divided into groups. We want to talk to the mayor himself to know what our rights are,” Luis said.
Another worker, Adelino Mussa, is also critical of the municipality. “They are saying that Renamo is the change for democracy in Mozambique. So, could it be that not everyone who works in the municipality voted for Renamo?” he asked.
First major conflict for new mayor
Observers note that this is the first major conflict that Paulo Vahanle has faced since he took office as the second mayor of the municipality on April 18.
Alfredo Alexandre, a councillor in the Institutional, Cooperation and Development department at Nampula Municipal Council, denied the workers’ accusations and says that the protestors are not actual employees, but service providers with whom the municipality did not wish to renew contracts.
“At the municipal council, we have a group of ex-associates and they were providing services to the city council. Upon completion of their contracts, and with the contracts terminated, there was a need to reorganise the institution. Any service provision contract has provisions [for its termination] and notice of termination had already been given,” he said.
But this does not seem to be an isolated case, according to Alfredo Alexandre. “This is something that will continue. There were about 360 workers, representing 12 associations, in the municipal council.”
According to the councillor, in the future and in the light of the reorganisation of the staff, the City Hall may hire workers by sector, but individually and not in associations as previously.
This is not the first case of workers protesting in Nampula municipality since it passed into the hands of the opposition. A group of women street sweepers protested to demand the payment of subsidies during Mahamudo Amurane’s mandate.Source: Deutsche Welle