Council, workers clash

HARARE - The Harare Municipal Workers Union (HMWU) has called for an urgent meeting with council management over revelations that the city is clandestinely pushing for the privatisation of council farms.

In a letter to the Harare City Council (HCC) management, HMWU executive chairman Cosmas Bungu said the local authority should first consult employees over the plans as per the Labour Act.

Chapter (28:01) of the Labour Act states, that “the purpose of this Act is to advance social justice and democracy in the workplace by the promotion of fair labour standards through the participation by employees in decisions affecting their interest in the workplace and 25a (5) (c) “a works council shall be “entitled to be consulted by the employer about proposals relating to partial or total plant closures and mergers and transfer of ownership.”

Bungu told the Daily News that there were some rogue elements within council who wanted to destroy viable entities in council then revive them for their personal gain once they had acquired them.

“We believe that there are certain people who want to take over these viable entities by firstly crippling them so that they appear to be loss making like what happened to our cash cow Rufaro Marketing, then taking them over for their own benefit instead of these entities benefiting Harare City residents and key stakeholders,” Bungu said.

He said workers have since dismissed the motion to privatise the farms and crusher station, stating that they are still viable entities of the city.

The workers union leader said if council concludes it has failed to run the two entities, it should at least cede them to workers in line with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act of 2007.

Rufaro Marketing, which used to stand out as one of HCC’s famous brands, wound up operations in the first quarter of 2013 amid revelations of huge loses.

Poor management and failure to keep up with competition from new outlets frequented by the growing young population forced Rufaro beer halls to become deserted and derelict, and eventually close.

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