Leonard Ncube and Adelaide Moyo Victoria Falls Reporters
PLAYERS in the tourism industry have joined the bandwagon of employee dismissals using the recent Supreme Court ruling with hundreds of workers being served with letters of termination of contracts last week.
Africa Sun Group’s Elephant Hills Resort, Kingdom and Victoria Falls Hotel, Khanondo Safari Tours and Lion Encounter are some of the giant players that dismissed workers this past week.
A combined 250 workers were served with letters of dismissal and the number could be more as information from other players that include lodges could not be established.
The workers, including the longest serving, were given three months’ notice as per the Supreme Court ruling.
Thirty workers were reportedly shown the exit door at Elephant Hills while the hotel is believed to be targeting to offload 150 workers.
At Khanondo Safaris, which is owned by Transport Minister, Obert Mpofu, 36 workers have been dismissed with immediate effect while an unconfirmed number had contracts terminated a week ago.
“On Wednesday we were called into the office and each was given a letter of termination of contract. They told us that the dismissal is with immediate effect. Thirty were given the letters and we don’t even know how many will be served later,” said one of the affected workers from Elephant Hills.
“A total of 36 workers from Khanondo Safaris have been served with three months’ notices. A majority of these were given the letters last week. We were told to stop reporting for work immediately. People are leaving with nothing despite the number of years served at the company. Most people are shattered because we are owed a lot of money in unpaid salaries,” a former Khanondo Safaris worker added.
Another worker said life will be unbearable for many of them.
One of the notice letters from Khanondo Safaris shown to Chronicle reads in part: “Please be advised that your express or implied contract of employment has been terminated in terms of Labour Act 29:01 read with its amendment No 7 of 2005, Item 6, Section 12 Subsection 4(a) due to the current business environment marked by low business. You are hereby given three months’ notice to terminate your contract and you will not be required to serve notice. Your last day at work is August 8. You will be paid your terminal benefits including cash in lieu of leave and notice pay by or on October 30”.
The dismissals come at a time when the government is fast-tracking the amendment of the Labour Act whose provisions have been described as grossly unfair and “colonial”.
President Mugabe has summoned Parliamentarians from their recess to consider amendments to the Labour Act this week. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is said to be in the process of terminating contracts for some of its workers while at Lion Encounter the number of casualties could not be ascertained yesterday.
Nearly 20,000 workers have lost their jobs so far following July 17 Supreme Court ruling that allowed for the dismissal of employees on three months’ notice. This position allows companies to lay off workers on three months notice without going through the expensive retrenchment process.
Econet Wireless, Zimpapers, Zinara, Air Zimbabwe and Grain Marketing Board among others have dismissed workers based on the ruling.