Workers hold officials hostage in salaries protest

OVER 23 former workers at Sterile Hygienic System at Beitbridge Border Post stormed the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare offices yesterday demanding their outstanding salaries.

By own correspondent

The company was contracted to provide cleaning services at the border post by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).

The protesting workers allegedly manhandled one of the managers identified only as Chinyana accusing him of ill-treating them and denying them leave days.

“He deducted $50 from my salary for each of the days I went for my relative’s funeral. They then dismissed me when I complained,” said one of the workers during a meeting hastily arranged at the Labour office to manage the impasse that was degenerating into violence.

The workers had come for a labour hearing set down for yesterday.

The firm’s human resources manager, Liberty Marwizi, refused to attend the hearing saying the case could only be handled by the National Employment Council.

Marwizi said his company was yet to be paid by Zimra, hence the delay in paying workers their February salaries.

Beitbridge Residents’ Association officials who teamed up with the protesters accused Sterile Hygienic System of victimising its workers.

“You are now firing them because you want to bring in labour from elsewhere yet there are people here,” said one of the residents’ representatives.

After the deadlock, the workers locked the main gate at the labour offices and threatened to stone the police car where Chinyama and Marwizi had sought refuge.

Riot police only arrived after the workers had left for the police station where they wanted to press extortion charges against management.

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