Over 400 dismissed workers heed ZCTU litigation call

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Four-hundred of the more than 20 000 workers who lost their jobs following the July 17 Supreme Court ruling have submitted their dismissal letters to the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to take legal action against their former employers and to force them to pay their packages.

By Stephen Chadenga

ZCTU president George Nkiwane said the union had engaged the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to pressure companies to pay workers following amendments to the Labour Act.

“We have between 300 and 400 workers who have submitted their dismissal letters so that we take the legal route against employers to pay packages,” he said in an interview yesterday.

“We have many companies that laid off workers since the July 17 Supreme Court ruling, but are yet to pay employees what they owe them and to us, as labour, this is unacceptable.”

supreme court

The July Supreme Court ruling allowed employers to terminate employees’ contracts on three months’ notice.

Nkiwane, however, was aghast at the small number of workers who were willing to be part of the litigation, saying it was disheartening that many workers were failing to stand for their rights.

He said the economic and political situation in the country had rendered workers passive when it comes to standing up for their rights.

“It is unfortunate that out of 20 000, between 300 and 400 heeded our call,” he said.

The ZCTU also has a pending Constitutional Court challenge against the mass dismissals on three months’ notice.

The job cuts in both the private and government entities have left many workers in abject poverty.

However, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe has since made a High Court application challenging provisions of the new Labour Amendment Act, which they allege to be unjust.