DESPITE government giving the impression it is against job cuts on Wednesday it ordered struggling Kingstons Holdings Ltd — a stationery group 51% owned by the government — to immediately lay off workers resulting in the dismissal that day of 42 workers using the July 17 Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to terminate contracts on three months’ notice.
Sources said the firm was through a phone call instructed by officials from the Ministry of Information, which is the stationery company’s parent ministry, to take advantage of the ruling — before the anticipated amendment of the Labour Act to protect workers — to reduce its workforce.
Kingstons joins state media institutions in dismissing employees. National broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation laid off 282 workers on Wednesday, while Zimpapers dismissed more than 100 workers last week as the job-loss carnage continues.
All three state entities fall under the Ministry of Information being run by Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira in an acting capacity. Mupfumira recently spoke passionately against job cuts using the Supreme Court ruling.
Mupfumira was quoted by a state weekly as saying: “We will not do that (fire workers). No one will be fired. Actually, we are in the process of expediting the Labour Act (amendments) so that we protect our workers and make sure retrenchments are done without firing people …”
Yesterday the national broadcaster continued the dismissal of workers with more employees receiving termination letters. ZBC intends to dismiss between 380 and 400 workers, sources revealed.
This comes at a time about 20 000 formal sector workers have been thrown onto the streets as a result of the terminations, according to trade unions.
State entities that have also used the ruling to dismiss workers include National Railways of Zimbabwe, Air Zimbabwe, Grain Marketing Board and Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe, despite government claiming it is against job dismissals using the Supreme Court ruling.