The MDC-T-dominated Gweru City Council has fired six workers’ representatives for allegedly inciting council employees to embark on strikes over salaries late last year.
The six include chairman and secretary of the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers’ Union Rabson Kilimboi and Kudakwashe Munengiwa respectively, chairperson for the Water and Allied Workers’ Union Silas Mutendeutswa, Cornelius Seliphiwe, Simbarashe Liboo and Cosmas Marufu.
Their dismissal letters stated council had resolved to dismiss them for participating in “an illegal job action and making Press statements without verifying facts”.
Mayor Tedious Chimombe confirmed the development, adding the action taken by the council was justified.
“We dismissed the workers and their union leaders for misleading the workers and enticing them to engage in illegal job actions while the others were dismissed for booing the deputy mayor in the presence of the Netherlands ambassador during a human rights function,” he said.
“We were surprised that some of the departmental heads who were the ones who submitted
the names of those who participated in the strike made a U-turn during the hearings and claimed the workers had not participated and we think they were threatened.”
But Local Government, Rural and Urban Development deputy minister Sesel Zvidzai said he was surprised by the local authority’s decision.
“I am surprised that there is an MDC council that has fired workers for speaking their minds out,” he said.
“We have fought for the freedom of expression as a party and we believe workers should be allowed to speak out their minds.
“We are in total disagreement of people who still have Zanu PF tendencies of victimising those that speak out against them.”
Last month, council suspended more than 40 workers as it clamped down on those behind the strikes.
The workers went on strike demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.