The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is threatening to report the country to the international Labour Organisation (ILO) over the unilateral amendment of laws by the courts which has resulted in workers being dismissed without priors notice.
In a statement the ZCTU said it is concerned by the current trend of abrupt termination of contracts of employment by employers despite the fact that it is well established in the Labour Act that termination is a process to be agreed by concerned parties.
“Just recently the country witnessed an ambush style termination of employment when Meikles Stores showed the exit door to 153 workers without any prior engagement.
“Labour is opposed to this cold-hearted termination whereby workers report for duty only to be sent back with a letter of termination. It is naturally unfair by any standard to deny a worker prior notice of intention of termination for planning purposes. The trend is in violation of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 158 - Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (No. 158). The courts and the employers should be guided and persuaded by the provisions of the convention which, among other things, outlaws the ambushing of employees on termination,” said Japhet Moyo the ZCTU secretary general.
He said the ZCTU will not stand aside and look while the future of workers and their social stability are being thrown into the dustbin. The dismissals of Meikles and Zuva Petroleum employees have been appealed against at the Constitutional Court.
“The practice should be opposed with all might as it is unfair and in violation of Section 65 of the Constitution. The ZCTU will take the issue to the ILO to protect workers from this unfair termination under the guise of the law. It seems the courts, manned by capitalists, in cahoots with the employers, have connived to unilaterally amend the labour laws of the country and introduce Labour Market Flexibility through the back door,” he said.
He said if left unchecked, thousands of workers will find themselves in the streets. The ZCTU is also very concerned about the ripple effects of these ambush terminations as they place workers in a precarious position where they become risk candidates when trying to access loans and mortgages, thereby dwindling their social security protection. It is in this disregard that even prospective investors would hesitate to invest in a country without a guaranteed regular clientele.
The ZCTU is planning to hold national demonstrations over such issues this month.