Chitungwiza Town Council yesterday sacked 236 employees based on the July 17 Supreme Court ruling, which allows employers to terminate workers’ contracts on three months’ notice. The termination of contracts came two days after President Mugabe signed into law the Labour Amendment Act following its passing in Parliament last week, with the new law coming into force with immediate effect.
The law was crafted to cushion employees following the Supreme Court ruling. Chitungwiza town clerk Mr George Makunde confirmed the development saying this was in line with the council’s resolution of offloading the overstaffed municipality. He said 388 more employees will be dismissed soon as the council intends to retrench 624 in line with its resolution.
“It is true that we have given letters to 236 workers. From the 236, 204 were employees found guilty during our 2011 investigations of participating in fraudulent activities while the remainder are from our liquor bars, which we have closed,” said Mr Makunde. Asked if Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere will not overturn the decision and reinstate all the affected employees, Mr Makunde said: “I can’t speak on behalf of the minister, because council has made the decision based on the limited budget.”
Urban and Rural Workers’ Union (ZURCWU) secretary Mr Bernard Dhanda said this was shocking after the President had just signed the amendments made to the Labour Bill. “How can the municipality do that under the new labour law which has been signed by the President to protect the workers? The workers are in arrears of a year’s salary and as a union we are going to demonstrate together with the workers until Government intervenes,” he said.
Chitungwiza Progressive Residents Association Mr Admire Zaya, however, said the firing was justified as the council was overstaffed. “We are not against the council laying off employees as the revenue being collected is not enough to cater for the huge workforce. “Our concern is on the salaries being awarded to senior staffers at the expense of other employees and service delivery,” said Mr Zaya. The sacking of the Chitungwiza employees comes as Chinhoyi Municipality reinstated the fired 124 workers under the direction of Minister Kasukuwere.