Six Gweru City Council workers’ representatives fired this week for allegedly inciting other employees to embark on strike over salaries late last year, have appealed against the decision.
These include chairman and secretary of the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers’ Union, Rabson Kilimboi and Kudakwashe Munengiwa, chairperson for the Water and Allied Workers’ Union, Silas Mutendeutswa, Cornelius Seliphiwe, Simbarashe Liboo and Cosmas Marufu.
Yesterday, Mutendeutswa — the workers’ spokesperson said lawyer James Mukandiwa was already processing their court papers.
“We are appealing against council’s decision to fire us and have engaged lawyers to deal with the matter. We can’t go to sleep when the employer chooses to violate the Labour Act and victimise us. The legal route will take its course,” Mutendeutswa said.
Council accused the workers’ leaders of participating in “an illegal job action and making Press statements without verifying facts”.
Mayor Tedious Chimombe justified the council’s decision to fire the workers’ representatives arguing they had breached the local authority’s code of conduct.
“We dismissed the workers and their union leaders for misleading workers and enticing them to engage in illegal job action while the others were dismissed for booing the deputy mayor in the presence of the Netherlands Ambassador during a human rights function,” Chimombe said.
But Local Government deputy minister Sessel Zvidzai said the decision to fire the workers was surprising.
“I am surprised that there is an MDC council that has fired workers for speaking their minds out,” Zvidzai 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 with people who still have Zanu PF tendencies of victimising those who speak out against them.”
Last month, council suspended 40 workers as it clamped down on those behind the strike.
The workers went on strike demanding payment of outstanding salaries and allowances.