Motor industry steeped in scandal: workers

The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Workers’ Union has exposed alleged gross maladministration at car assemblers, AVM Africa, Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) and Quest Motors.

Acting vice-chairman of the union Lovemore Vambe on Monday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare chaired by Zengeza West MP Collen Gwiyo that recently, WMMI imported assembled vehicles from Thailand instead of importing kits for their assembly in Zimbabwe. The move had resulted in loss of work hours for workers.

The parliamentary committee is investigating employment conditions in the motor vehicle industry.
“Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries imports kits, but at one time they imported already built vehicles from Thailand and these had a lot of defects when they came, resulting in Willowvale losing a lot of money,” said Vambe.

“As a result, workers were forced to go on short-time work. The vehicles that were imported included four by four vehicles to be converted into ambulances and Mazda CX9 and CX7 vehicles which came already built causing loss of jobs,” he said.

Other concerns raised by the union included victimisation of trade unionists, misuse of trade union funds, non-deduction and non-payment of pension remittances as well as abuse of workers and selective disciplinary measures.

“There is abuse of office powers at Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries and some employees are sometimes sent to work at the managing director’s house instead of performing company duties.

Pension remittances and medical aid contributions at AVM Africa are not being deducted and Quest Motors also forces union leaders to go on early retirement,” Vambe alleged.

The union said the minimum wages were $163 per month for AVM Africa employees, $210 per month for WMMI employees and $200 per month for Quest Motors employees.

MPs were, however, not moved by the presentation, saying it lacked depth and evidence in paperwork to substantiate the allegations.

“By the look of things you are telling us problems that workers are experiencing, but you are not saying what you have done to try and solve them,” said Bulawayo East MP Thabitha Khumalo.

The committee ordered the union to go back and compile evidence to support their allegations.

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