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Workers Back On The Job At Zimbabwe Electrical Power Authority

Management of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority said Monday that a strike by its employees had ended and that operations were back to normal.

A senior official of the Zimbabwe Electricity and Energy Workers Union confirmed that members had gone back to work - but said the state enterprise's suspension of about 135 employees during the work action remained an unresolved issue.

Some ZESA workers struck last week to press for increased wages after negotiations with management deadlocked and were referred to arbitrators. The work action coincided with disruptions of electric power across the country.

ZESA's lowest-paid employee earns Z$23,000 a month, or US$92 at the official rate of exchange, but at the prevailing parallel market rate that amounts to just US$7.

ZESA management is offering workers a 144% pay increase, but the electrical workers union is demanding a hike of more than 1,000%.

ZESA spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although the strike has ended, management is maintaining the suspension of the 135 workers because it considered the strike to be illegal.

More reports from VOA'S Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...