THE bloodbath of worker dismissals through the termination of contracts on three months’ notice will continue for at least until the end of the month as parliament, which is supposed to pass amendments to the Labour Act to stem haemorrhage, has adjourned until September.
This comes at a time when about 20 000 formal sector workers have been thrown onto the streets as a result of the terminations, according to trade unions.
The terminations were triggered by a Supreme Court ruling on July 17 that allowed employers to lay off workers on three months’ notice without retrenchment packages.
This has led to an unprecedented wave of dismissals with more workers losing jobs in two weeks than the estimated 7 000 employees who lost their jobs through retrenchments the whole of last year.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Japhet Moyo told the Zimbabwe Independent yesterday that the labour union was preparing to fight the termination of contracts in court, describing the dismissals as unfair.
“We are going to court very soon because these are unfair dismissals,” Moyo said. “We have collected 3 600 letters of dismissal which we are going to use in our court case.”
The union has also planned demonstrations countrywide tomorrow to protest against the job losses.
Media organisations have also trimmed their workforce, with Zimpapers set to join the bandwagon with at least 100 employees from the stable likely to lose their jobs. According to sources, among those to be affected include 30 staff members of the daily Herald, nine journalists from the daily Chronicle, and four from Sunday News (weekly) stables after the company’s board this week approved the go-ahead to boot out workers.
The weekly Sunday Mail could lose six journalists. In total Zimpapers, including other departments, will dismiss about 107 workers.
Insiders said despite using the Supreme Court ruling, Zimpapers would however cushion removed workers by paying a severance package of one month’s salary for every year served.
AMH and ANZ media groups have also removed workers.
Other companies which have dismissed workers include Croco Motors, Econet Wireless, Moonlight Funeral Services, Sino Zimbabwe, Steward Bank, Unilever Zimbabwe, Choppies, TN Holdings and Medtech.
State entities National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, Grain Marketing Board and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe have also dismissed workers.
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke this week said his organisation had received a government directive to cut down its employees using the same ruling despite the authorities’ pretence they are opposed to the dismissals.
Although cabinet this week approved the amendments to the Labour Bill, it is unlikely to be amended until the beginning of September when parliament resumes sitting, leaving workers vulnerable.
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