City workers cry foul

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Hope Mwale

Bulawayo residents have condemned the Supreme Court ruling giving employers the nod to terminate workers’ contracts by giving them a three months’ notice, with some describing it as inhumane.

BY BENSON DUBE

Last Friday’s ruling has seen over a 1 000 workers losing their jobs without benefits as companies took advantage of the dispensation to cut down on their workforce.

Hope Mwale of Barham Green said the ruling had put many workers’ jobs at risk since employers were now empowered to do anything with their workers.

“It is inhumane; it does not consider the plight of workers. Employers can just use workers and throw them away,” he said.

“It has to be a win-win situation for everyone. This type of ruling is a first one of its kind. I think it needs to be revised.”

Thembinkosi Ncube of Makokoba said the ruling was bad for the city, which has already suffered a lot of job losses.

“It is not right that employers have begun to fire employees without benefits,” he said.

“The government must stop this inhumane behaviour. Yes, there are no jobs, but this type of firing employee is not welcome as it will lead to demonstrations.”

Ncube said he suspected the government would use the law to cut down on its workers.

“I have never heard of this in any country. This is not what our brothers fought for,” he said.

“What this means is everyone will be fired before end of this year including civil servants. This country is going crazy.”

Other residents who requested to remain anonymous said the government should intervene and stop the job carnage. The government has vowed to amend the Labour Act to stop further job losses and appealed to employers to exercise caution.

Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and four other judges, sitting as a Supreme Court, ruled that the common law position placing employees and employers on an equal footing was still operational. They were deliberating in a case where former Zuva Petroleum employees Don Nyamande and Kingstone Donga accused the company of illegally terminating their contracts.

Nyamande and Donga have since appealed to the Constitutional Court. Their lawyer Lovemore Madhuku argued that Section 12(4) of the Labour Act does not give an employer the right to terminate contracts on notice but simply provides terms and conditions of provisions of notice.

1 COMMENT

  1. Sure it hurts but is it also not true that employees have not always behaved in a manner conducive to ‘win win’ scenario. Employers have been dragged to the likes ZCTU, ZFTU, etc. for simply not being able to pay the atrocious demands. Employers would attest to the number of times the employees have shown up very late for or never at all but deducting for lost time has always been considered treasonous. Employees have had it cool for a very long time while the employer has been crucified. They steal, they are lazy, they attend numerous funerals for numerous fathers, etc.

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