THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has denounced the recent suspension of five workers’ union leaders by the Chitungwiza Municipality, describing the move as a clear case of victimisation.
In a statement, ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the five workers were being targeted for their role in mobilising workers to demand their 14 months’ outstanding salaries.
“The ZCTU believes that this is clear victimisation for leading a strike after workers had gone for a year without salaries when their executives have been earning mega salaries,” Moyo said.
“What the council is doing is against the labour laws of this country that protect workers’ representatives from victimisation by employers.”
The affected workers claimed in a letter to the Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’ Union (ZUCWU) that council had preferred to charge them for absenteeism from work, sub-standard performance, disorderly behaviour and behaviour likely to harm the reputation and financial position of the local authority.
Moyo, however, questioned why only these five were targeted out of all the workers who engaged in the demonstration.
He called on the municipality to immediately drop the charges against the union leaders and unconditionally allow them to resume their duties.
The five, Miriam Chitsa (ZUCWU deputy president), Ephraim Katsina (branch chairperson), Tenson Bamusi (branch secretary), Peter Kapamba and Isreal Bako who are both committee members, are scheduled to appear before a disciplinary hearing on August 21 and 22.
The Chitungwiza workers embarked on strike action in July over unpaid salaries, but were forced to stop the action after they were issued with a show cause order by Labour minister Nicholas Goche.
Their bid to nullify the order was quashed by High Court judge, Justice David Mangota.
The case is now still pending at the Labour Court where the workers’ lawyer, Tafadzwa Mboko raised a point of limine arguing that the show cause order was null and void as it had been issued after the strike had stopped.