‘TelOne, NetOne in breach of law’

TelOne and NetOne have been in blatant breach of the law resisting their workers’ bid to join the National Employment Councils (NEC) for the communication sector, resulting in them losing out during the collective bargaining process, Parliament heard yesterday.

The NEC general secretary for the Communications and Allied Services, Elismore Tavengwa was speaking before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare chaired by Mazowe South MP, Margaret Zinyemba.

Tavengwa said in addition, TelOne, Zimpost and NetOne operated without boards, a situation which further disadvantaged employees when negotiating because their industry ended up being run by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, Nicholas Goche who in most cases, was always busy to meet them.

“TelOne, a government-owned institution, has decided to withdraw illegally from the NEC citing union intransigency as its reason for withdrawal and the company stopped contributing both financially and otherwise since August 2010 and workers were not consulted and this has crippled collective bargaining for a company that has over 3 000 employees,” Tavengwa said.

“NetOne had also chosen to break the law by disregarding the Labour Act prescription which makes NEC membership compulsory under Section 82 and they have since approached the courts with this case, albeit with dirty hands as they have refused to register with the NEC while their court case is being heard, thus prejudicing workers.”

A councillor with NEC for the Communications and Allied Industries, Christopher Chizura, said some workers, who were part of the 2 500 people dismissed for engaging in job action in 2004 were paid paltry amounts of between $200 to $300 as pension.

“Workers who have been working at Post and Telecommunications Corporation for 30 years got $200 to $300 as a lump sum and the maximum lump sum has been $1 000,”said Chizura.

Another councillor, John Mashiringwani said in terms of the law, the three firms should comply with NEC regulations.

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