MINING companies in Matabeleland region have reportedly joined the spate of firing workers, sending home about 600 using the recent Supreme Court ruling that employers can terminate employees’ contracts after giving three months’ notice.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Last month, the Supreme Court bench ruled unanimously on the common law position that employers and employees have the same rights when terminating contracts. Close to 20 000 workers have so far been fired using the July 17 Supreme Court ruling.
According to sources close to the developments, Turkey Mine has reportedly fired close to 500 while Carry Mine and Queens’ Mine have fired about 100 and 20 respectively. Queens’ Mine reportedly sent middle management on unpaid forced leave.
A mines union representative, Abraham Kavalanjila, confirmed to NewsDay that mining companies had started firing workers willy-nilly, but said they were still assessing the situation.
“Yes, we received such reports, but we don’t have specific figures of how many workers have so far lost their jobs. As workers’ representatives we are going to lobby the government to amend the law with immediate effect before more damage is done,” Kavalanjila said.
“The Supreme Court ruling has killed us as workers and as unions. We don’t have any powers at all and workers have been reduced into slaves. This means there is no Labour Act in Zimbabwe and we feel its betrayal of workers’ rights.”
National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Enoch Sithole threatened to descend hard on mining companies abusing workers. He said he was yet to gather full details of what transpired from the union’s Bulawayo offices.
No comment could be obtained from Turkey Mine, Carry Mine or Queens’ Mine.
Workers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity accused the government of reducing them into slaves.
They appealed to President Robert Mugabe to evoke his powers to stop the purging of employees by companies.
Last week, five parastatals sent thousands of their workers home citing the court ruling. These include National Railways of Zimbabwe (350), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (309), Air Zimbabwe (100), CMED (Pvt) Ltd (200) and Grain Marketing Board (400).
Unilever Zimbabwe sacked 186 employees, while Moonlight Funeral Assurance and Services fired 100 workers on Monday.
Other companies include Econet Wireless which sent home 400 workers and Sino-Zim which dismissed 300 workers. Choppies Zimbabwe fired 100 workers, while Sakunda Holdings dismissed 80 employees, mainly truck drivers.
Zimasco, Zimsteel Zimbabwe, Pioneer Freight, Crest Poultry Group, Steward Bank, General Engineering Private Limited, Nyadire Teachers College, Goal Zimbabwe, Clover Leaf Motors, Zimbabwe Christian College, TN Harlequin, BlueLine Dry Cleaners, Granary Investments, Metropolitan Bank, MedTech, Windmill and Zimbabwe Pharmaceuticals are among the list of companies that have dismissed workers premised on the Supreme Court ruling, according to labour unions.