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Employers reinstate dismissed workers

ONLY 9% of workers, who were dismissed using last year’s July 17 Supreme Court ruling allowing companies to lay off workers on three months’ notice, have been reinstated, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza

According to a report titled Collective Bargaining Agreement Audit Report Preliminary Research Findings conducted by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), approximately 420 out of 4 858 workers who were dismissed have been reinstated. This, ZCTU revealed, is based on responses they received from questionnaires sent out to various national employment councils.

The Supreme Court ruling allowed employers to dismiss workers on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.

ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo told businessdigest this week that most of the workers were reinstated because the employer could not afford to compensate them the statutory two weeks’ salary for every year served as mandated by the amended Labour Act.

“Most of the workers that were taken back were because the employers could not afford to compensate them as required by the amendments made to the Labour Act,” Moyo said.

According to the findings of the research, the most affected union by the Supreme Court ruling was the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe with 1 500 of its members dismissed. This is followed by the National Union of Metalworkers in Zimbabwe (640), Railway Association of Enginemen and Zimbabwe Chemicals Plastics and Allied Workers Union (500 each), Zimbabwe Association of Railway Workers Union (486) and National Energy Workers Union (470).

Other affected unions include the Zimbabwe Catering and Hotel Workers Union with 424 of their members dismissed, Transport and General Workers Union (250) as well as Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union (131).

Some of the unions whose members were reinstated include Zimbabwe Chemicals Plastics and Allied Workers Union with 61 workers returning to work, Zimbabwe Catering and Hotel Workers Union (41) and National Energy Workers Union (20).

The report noted that nine out of 20 trade unions recorded positive changes in their collective bargaining agreement between 2014 and 2015 in as far as achieving decent work is concerned.

“The Zimbabwean context has provided many challenges towards the attainments of decent work and several changes have been witnessed in the labour market between 2014 and 2015,” the report noted. “It is, therefore, critical to strengthen the role of trade unions in ensuring that CBAs remain apt and relevant to the prevailing socio-economic landscape and the international labour standards set out in the various ILO Conventions.”

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