Effects of unpopular July 17 court ruling rages on as workers sleep in the open

By Pretty Chavango.
Despite the fact that the Parliament of Zimbabwe amended the Labour Act in August of 2015 in a bid to stop the massive job cuts started by the supreme court ruling of July 17 ,  months later workers who fell victim to this are yet to be given their dues .
During a February National Assembly parliamentary sitting, Hon. Ricky Nelson Mawere of Mutoko East constituency revealed that about 600 former workers of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) have been sleeping outside the company’s premises for more than 10 days and are sleeping in the open hoping to get payment of their outstanding salary arrears.
Hon. Mawere went on to say that among those sleeping in the open are mothers and their babies who can be seen breastfeeding but there seems to be no response from the management.
The July 17 supreme court ruling which allowed companies to terminate their employees’ contracts without packages on provision of a three months notice saw over 25 000 people lose their jobs among these GMB laid off more than 1000 workers .
A few months after this ruling the Labour Act (chapter 28:01) was amended and the Labour Amendment Act of 2015 were enacted by the Parliament and President of Zimbabwe. Under this new act section 4 (b) reads;
(b) by the insertion after subsection (4) of the following subsections-
“(4a) No employer sha1l terminate a contract of employment
on notice unless-
(a) the termination is in terms of an employment code or, in the absence of an employment code, in terms of the model code made under section 101(9); or
(b) the employer and employee mutually agree in writing to the termination of the contract; or
(c) the employee was engaged for a period of fixed duration or for the performance of some specific service: or’
(d) pursuant to retrenchment. in accordance with section 12C.
(4b) Where an employee is given notice of termination of contract in terms of subsection (4a) and such employee is employed under the terms of a contract without limitation of time, the provisions of section 12C shall apply with regard to compensation for loss of Employment.”
Minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Hon. Joseph Made responded to the issue concerning the laid off GMB workers by saying management had been instructed to handle the matter.
Hon. Mutseyami then added a supplementary question on whether the Minister had looked into this issue and talked to the GMB management to which Hon. Made said he could not comment on the issue as it involved financial resources.
The matter is very specific; it involves payment that is due to the workers. “I cannot answer that one. It depends on when the resources are mobilised.” He said.
Concerns were raised on the possible health hazard arising at this open camping over many days and the Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa spoke to assure the house that Government was looking into the plight of these people.
Reports published show that most workers are owed 9 months’ salary while others risk losing their homes.
Featured Image courtesy of 263chat

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