6,000 employees dismissed, unions appeal to President

Felex Share Harare Bureau
NEARLY 6,000 people have lost their jobs since the Supreme Court ruling on July 17 and trade unions are appealing to President Robert Mugabe to immediately use his powers to stop the unilateral sacking of employees.

The unions appealed to President Mugabe to provide a stopgap measure that stops firms from firing people willy-nilly and sending them away almost empty handed, adding that amending the Labour Act, while welcome, was a long process.

More companies yesterday continued capitalising on the Supreme Court ruling that allows them to terminate contracts of employment upon issuing three months’ notice.

The government has appealed to companies to exercise maximum restrain while it moves to amend the Labour Act to stem the inconsistencies in the labour market.

Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions secretary-general Kennias Shamuyarira, said Presidential Powers should be evoked to end the “madness” that has left the labour market burning.

“In the past six days we’ve received more than 2,700 workers who’ve been sent home and remember these are only those who can come to make formal reports,” he said.

“We’ve met this morning as a union and we’ll try to engage the Minister (Prisca Mupfumira) on Monday and if that doesn’t bear fruits, we’ll find ways to meet the President because he is the only one who can end this madness.”

Shamuyarira said amending the Labour Act would take long and there was therefore a need to stop the sacking of people immediately.

He accused some companies of abusing the Supreme Court judgment to create animosity between the government and the people.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Japhet Moyo, said the appeal by government for companies to exercise restraint would not help the situation.

“Companies have continued sacking people and in our records, we’ve more than 3,000 who’ve been dismissed,” he said.

“The onslaught is ongoing and from the low ranking workers, companies will target the middle managers. No one is safe in this except shareholders.”

Added Moyo: “This is a crisis and we want an immediate solution. Amending the law isn’t an overnight event and remember those processes of putting the draft to the Attorney General, the First and Second Reading in Parliament take long while companies continue firing workers.

“President Mugabe should be persuaded to end all this while the law making process proceeds.”

U- Link Freight yesterday sent dozens of people home.

“In terms of the Roman-Dutch Law adopted by the country on June 10, 1981, the employer has a right to terminate employment contract by giving the requisite notice of intention to terminate the employment contract, which position has been adopted by the Supreme Court of the country in 2015,” reads a letter from the company to one of the employees.

“By operation of the Labour Act of Zimbabwe, notice for termination of employment on an indefinite employment contract, popularly known as permanent employment shall be three months.”

Another company Celsys Limited in Southerton, also sent some its workers home yesterday despite reportedly owing workers thousands of dollars accumulated over the years.

“It is with regret that we inform you that your employment with Celsys Limited will be terminated with effect from October 23, 2015 in accordance with provisions of Section 12 (4) (a) of the Labour Act, ‘three months in the case of a contract without limit or a contract for a period of two years or more,” reads a letter signed by a human resources official, Maureen Chimariro.

The company is giving the sacked workers salary for the month of July, cash in lieu of leave (if any due), gratuity (for those who have worked for more than five years) and notice of pay for the next three months beginning next month.

Companies such as AgriFoods, Mike Appel, Farm and City Centre, Highveld Seeds and Daily News, Sino Zimbabwe, Aviation Ground Services, Econet, Zimoco, Steward Bank, TN Asset management, TN Harlequin, Pelhams and Lake Harvest have also fired workers based on the Supreme Court ruling.

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