‘Companies exploiting workers’

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SOME local companies are taking advantage of the prevailing harsh economic climate to trample on employees’ labour rights in a clear violation of Zimbabwe’s labour laws, a leading labour expert has said.

JONAH NYONI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

The harsh economic conditions have made some businesses use nonconformist means such as constructive dismissal, retrenchments, cutting down of pay packs, late payment and inharmonious dismissal of employees.

Rodgers Matsikidze, a labour lawyer, says he has been inundated with complaints from aggrieved employees, including from respected firms in the private sector. He encouraged workers not to be afraid to lodge their grievances or complaints with labour experts.

“Labour officers are trained to deal with any problem relating to abuse or harassment as long as there is adequate evidence,” he said.

Investigations by Southern Eye Business indicated that in some instances employers applied constructive dismissals to frustrate workers and get rid of them for raising even genuine issues regarding, for instance, violation of their contracts or working conditions.

In such cases Matsikidze urged employees to “have dated and documented evidence of abuse or perpetual threat” if the employee or employees were to seek a legal recourse.

“These should be stated clearly in the resignation letter if one eventually cannot stand the pressure from the employer,” he said.

Businesses in Zimbabwe are under strain due to high operational costs, debt and competition with cheaper imports — especially from China — but the contagion effect of the harsh economic climate has affected employees who alleged abuse and fragrant violation of their employment conditions.

According to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya, Zimbabwe’s growth forecast has been cut to 3,1% from 6,1%.

Brutal labour practices have been reported from the Chinese businesses operating in Zimbabwe as they fail to observe local labour and environmental laws.

“The problem is that the Chinese are not well versed with our labour laws, but they should engage local experts,” Matsikidze said.

There have also been complaints about disparities and inconsistencies in wage levels at some companies.

Said one affected employee: “I would rather keep my job and get my salary every month than produce my degree and lose my job. I have my degree from Midlands State University, but I used my ‘O’ Level qualification to get my current job.”

1 COMMENT

  1. It is sad that we freed ourselves from the British colony slavery and shifted to the look east whereby we are now being facing the same music from these chinese , workers are underpaid, paid peanuts and fired unconstitutional . What is the benefit of zimbabweans for having these chinees ?

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