GWERU — Over 400 factory workers at Bata Shoe Company have gone on strike to protest against a pay cut they say was illegally enforced by the firm, union leaders said on Wednesday.
The stand-off between the shoe company and its workers arose in 2010, when Bata applied to the Labour Court for permission to reduce wages, citing rising operational costs.
The firm proceeded to cut salaries before the court, which eventually turned down the application, had ruled on the matter.
Bata officials declined to comment on the matter when contacted on Wednesday.
Workers’ committee chairperson Isaac Wandira confirmed the strike action, but referred questions to a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions official, Isaac Teveteve.
“I can’t comment at the moment because I have to go to the company and establish what is on the ground.”
“What I know is that the workers are on strike, but I’m yet to go on the ground to establish the reasons for the job action,” Teveteve said.
Another workers’ representative said the strike was caused by the company which was negotiating in bad faith.
“After the company had their application thrown out, the workers’ committee had been negotiating with management so that we could be reimbursed and they had shown interest to pay us back,” said the representative, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“However, it turned out that the company had appealed the court’s decision. This showed us that all along the company had been negotiating in bad faith and it angered us. This is why we have decided to take this route.”