recently elected Zimbabwe United Passenger Company workers’ committee chairman Godfrey Homera faces dismissal after being summoned to a disciplinary hearing set for Tuesday next week, as the confrontation between workers and management over unpaid allowances reaches boiling point.
He has been summoned, sources said, for attending a meeting held on December 12 last year with the National Employment Council for Transport & General Workers Union to seek recourse over payment of outstanding wages and allowances amounting to more than US$1,3 million. Should he be dismissed, Homera will become the second workers’ committee chairman to be sacked in less than a year after the dismissal of the previous committee chairman, Onson Mashinga, in August last year.
Sources said Homera is being charged for offence number 3,1 of the code of conduct for the transport operating industry, statutory instrument 67 of 2012, which is failure to comply with standing instructions or to follow established procedures. These were the same charges that cost Mashinga his job.
Workers at the parastatal engaged Wintertons Legal Practitoners lawyer Exodus Donzvambeva last year to recover their wages and allowances. This led to the dismissal of the workers’ committee chairman Mashinga and the resignation of the rest of the committee.
The meeting held last month which was attended by the workers’ committee, Donzvambeva and the parastatal’s legal team agreed that the Zupco lawyers will engage management to come up with a payment plan of outstanding allowances at a meeting which was scheduled for yesterday.
Contacted for comment, an angry Donzvambeva blasted Zupco management calling the latest development “the height of anarchy”.
“I am dismayed that in this day and age there are employers who will stop at nothing in advancing their own selfish agendas even by violating employees’ rights. The use of guerrilla tactics to dissuade employees from seeking to enforce their constitutionally guaranteed rights must never have a place in employment circles,” Donzvambeva said.
“This is the height of anarchy and the breakdown of social justice and democracy at a workplace, the very purpose for which our Labour Act was enacted. This is retrogressive and disheartening.”
He said the meeting scheduled for yesterday would go ahead notwithstanding management’s actions.
A letter written by Zupco CEO Tendai Masaire in August last year to Donzvambva revealed the parastatal was mired in a US$15 million debt.
“The failure to pay the arrear salaries has not been deliberate but is a result of the depressed revenues which the company is currently receiving,” Masaire wrote to Donzvambeva in a letter dated August 13 2014. “The company also has a debt overhang of more than US$15 million and this includes salary arrears.”