Another Chitungwiza council workers' strike looms

HARARE - Chitungwiza municipal employees have threatened another crippling industrial action today if their leaders suspended on allegations of leading an illegal strike last month are not immediately reinstated.

About six Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU) leaders who include Miriam Chitsa (deputy president), Ephraim Katsina (branch chairperson), Tenson Bamusi (branch secretary), Peter Kapamba, Frank Machingura and Israel Bako who are both committee members were subsequently suspended for leading the strike.

Workers had withdrawn their labour over unpaid salaries, but were ordered to halt the action after they were issued with a show cause order by Labour minister Nicholas Goche.

An attempt by the employees to nullify the order was quashed by High Court judge, Justice David Mangota but  it is now being handled by the labour court where the workers are arguing that the show cause order was null and void as it had been issued after the strike had stopped.

Now the workers are protesting the victimisation of their leaders.

In an August 14 letter to town clerk George Makunde, signed by 41 ZUCWU executive members, and copied to the mayor Phillip Mutoti, the workers gave the authorities a three-day ultimatum to reinstate their leaders or face another crippling industrial action.

Mutoti confirmed that he had received the letter saying management would sit to deliberate on it today.

“We received the ultimatum on Friday but we have not met to discuss it. We will only look at it on Monday, so get in touch with me after that,” said Mutoti.

The union said it had the backing of the entire workforce saying the harassment of their leaders threatened their existence.

“We have consulted our membership and there is general consensus that the suspension of our leaders constitutes a serious threat to the existence of the union,” reads the letter.

“It is because of this reason that the union gives you three days to reinstate our leaders or we will be left with no alternative but to invoke section 104 subsection 4b of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 which would empower us to hit the streets for the second time”.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has since denounced the suspension of the ZUCWU leaders describing the move as a clear case of victimisation.

The labour body called on the municipality to immediately drop the charges against the union leaders and unconditionally allow them to resume their duties.

“The ZCTU believes that this is clear victimisation for leading a strike after workers had gone for a year without salaries when their executives have been earning mega salaries,” secretary-general Japhet Moyo said in a statement.

He added that; “What the council is doing is against the labour laws of this country that protect workers’ representatives from victimisation by employers.”

Comments (1)

The Chitungwiza Council is short of money but they are simply lazy to generate money.For example, onwers of the Garikai housing scheme have been trying to open files with the Council so that they can start paying rates to Council but council keeps on saying they are not yet ready, losing out revenue in the process.Wake up Chingwiza Council.

dzingai - 18 August 2014

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