MUTARE — Mutare City Council has cracked the whip on its 23 workers who were part of the group that staged a sit in at the civic centre on Monday demonstrating against unpaid bonuses and other benefits.
In a letter dated March 27, copied to the town clerk, finance director, human resource manager and the Zimbabwe Urban Workers’ Council Union (ZUWCU), the 23 were suspended indefinitely without pay and benefits.
The new twist has prompted another ZUWCU organised demonstration as workers threatened to fight what they termed “brutal treatment”.
“We are disregarding this suspension. The city fathers have invited trouble upon themselves and we are certainly going to leave no stone unturned,” said ZUWCU.
“Our pay slips reflect that we are getting medical aid, funeral policy, pension fund, life assurances and uniforms. Imagine we are still talking about unpaid bonuses now. Our pay slips do not have deductions section as on bank statements. Why is this so? It’s fraud,” charged Musa, who has since filed fraud charges against council.
Council has, however, vowed to take action against the workers for what they said was an unsanctioned sit-in.
Part of the dismissal letter reads: “It has come to management’s attention that on 26th of March 2012 you together with others, organised and participated in an illegal collective job action on the issue of bonuses . . . It has also been established that you directly and indirectly contacted various departments of council and incited as well as advised employees to join the illegal collective job action . . .
“You are therefore hereby suspended without pay and benefits in terms of Section 6 (1) of the Statutory Instrument 15 of 2006. During the period of your suspension you are not expected to visit any council offices or your work places without prior written approval by the town clerk or human resources manager.”
Council is of the view workers did not give them the required 14-day notice before the demonstration as per procedure.