Pioneer workers row with management

HARARE - Pioneer Transport workers are fighting the ownership of the Unifreight Africa Limited-owned transport firm under an indigenisation scheme.

The workers have since passed a vote of no confidence on the “interim” management.

But in a counter attack, management fired three employees who represented the workers, namely Fungai Fundeni, Farai Kadange and Wilfred Nyamukondiwa.

Passing a vote of no confidence, the workers accused the management of taking over the company which should be co-owned by the employees and management under empowerment laws.

“They have failed to pay workers while they increased their salaries, we told them to step down and stop acting like owners of the company,” the workers said in a statement.

The workers have already engaged the Transport and Workers union.

“We hereby request for an urgent records inspection at Pioneer Transport to ascertain allegations related to employees’ earnings and conditions of employment, especially wages,” the workers wrote last week.

“We are requesting for this to be treated as very urgent. There is need to establish the employment levels hence the demand for real wage bill, and actual names and grades.”

Sensing danger, the workers allege management, headed by managing director Christopher Mhamhiwa, “cooked charges” against the workers committee and fired their top leadership.

The three were fired for alleged insubordination and fraud charges.

Mhamhiwa claimed the workers had taken umbrage after he had put a mechanism to avoid the stealing of fuel by truck drivers.

“When we were given this company it was insolvent, we agreed that we pay all the company’s debts so that we can take over the company,” Mhamhiwa said.

“We did not increase our salaries as you know that many companies are struggling to pay their workers due to economic hardships we are also in the same predicament.”

Last year, the company was disposed of to its employees at a nominal amount of $200.

The transport company, which in 2014 recorded a net profit before taxation of $2,1 million, was acquired by Unifreight in December 2013, in a deal worth around $7,2 million.

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