Workers’ Union gives Mugabe 72 hour ultimate, threaten to take over companies

By Kundai Marunya

Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) and Congress of Zimbabwe Trade Unions (COZITU) have given the government and president a 72hour ultimatum till Monday to reinstate workers who were fired in the past two weeks.

This follows a landmark ruling that reprieves companies from paying workers exit packages but on pay three months’ pay or give a three months’ notice before they fire workers.

The ruling cost over 16 000 workers their jobs, the number growing on a daily basis.

Big companies were pointed out to have retrenched large numbers, Econet and Sino Zimbabwe on top of the list. ZFTU secretary general Kennias Shamhuyarira said , “If Mugabe does not react within the 72 hours we have given him to act we are going forward to strike, stay way, boycott and march to the companies that are firing workers and seize them and we will run them.”

The list of demands include an immediate effective moratorium on all dismissals pending the amendment of the Labour Act and the Constitution to guarantee job security for every employee;  an impartial Constitutional Court bench which involves retired judges and other judges who are not involved and compromised as farmers and employers. Judges who have heard and presided over the case before must not be involved in the interest of justice, transparency, fairness and accountability and an emergency sitting and the fast tracking of the amendment of the Labour Act by the Parliament. “That is how POSA and AIIPA were passed.”

Shamhuyarira said, “Failure to comply with these demands will leave workers with no option but to embark on joint mass action.”

COZITU leader Raymond Majongwe said people are well motivated to fight back come Monday.

“We have 16 000 people who have been fired and have nothing to lose. The president said he does not agree with the ruling so who will arrest us,” he said.

Majongwe added that “The enemies are the judiciary system and the government. This is the time to build viable accountable, militant trade unions. We can’t pretend that the house is not burning.”