WORKERS in the energy sector, the bulk of whom are employed by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa), have threatened to go on industrial action to force their employers to the negotiation table.
This follows disclosures by the National Employment Council for the Zimbabwe Energy Industry that they were not yet ready for the 2014 collective bargaining process after their boards were recently dissolved by Energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.
NEC general secretary Itayi Bonda, on February 26 this year, wrote to the two trade unions advising that the employers’ association was not in a position to negotiate because most of its member companies did not have boards to report to.
But, National Energy Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe general secretary Thomas Masvingwe yesterday accused employers of deliberately stalling the process.
“They are in breach of the Constitution and we are going to resort to collective job action if they remain adamant. We are currently mobilising our structures for an effective job action,” Masvingwe said.
He said it was worrying that the employers were trying to delay the negotiations for 2014 at a time they were still fighting over the 2012 negotiations where the employer was reluctant to fully implement the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“We are at war with the employer over the non-payment of allowances to contract employees when the CBA does not exclude them. The employer is just evading responsibility, but we will fight them to the end,” Masvingwe said.
Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union general secretary Martin Chikuni said while the boards had a role to play in terms of directing the companies’ operations, their absence was no excuse to stall negotiations.
“I think they are just hiding behind the boards because they are still conducting business in the absence of the boards,” Chikuni said.