1 December 2012

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Strike Illegal - Labour Court

The Labour Court yesterday declared the strike by Chitungwiza Municipality workers illegal.

The ruling followed the issuing of a show cause order by the Labour and Social Services Minister Paurina Mupariwa on Wednesday.

Chitungwiza was also allowed by the Labour Court disposal order to take disciplinary action against employees who engaged in the unlawful collective job action.

Labour Court senior president Ms Gladys Mhuri sitting with presidents Ms Euna Makamure and Ms Eurica Ndewere ruled the strike illegal for want of compliance with the provisions of Section 104 of the Labour Act.

"The said unlawful collective job action be and is hereby terminated forthwith and the respondents (workers) report for work with immediate effect," read the disposal order.

"Applicant (Chitungwiza) be and is hereby discharged from the employer's liability to pay all or part of wages or benefits due to all those engaged in the unlawful strike in respect of the duration of the collective job action."

Chitungwiza was also allowed -- in its discretion -- to take disciplinary action in terms of the code of law, or lay off or suspend with or without pay specified employees.

This also includes categories of employees engaged in the unlawful collective job action.

Chitungwiza Municipality Workers' Committee was prohibited from collecting union dues from its members for a period of eight months from December 1, 2012.

"The applicant be and is hereby allowed to take disciplinary action against employees engaged in the strike who did not comply with the Minister's show cause order," read the disposal order.

The workers were protesting against the non-payment of salaries as they had gone for three months without pay.

All council clinics, cemetery offices, bars and banking halls had been closed, depriving council of revenue.

Most patients were trooping to Chitungwiza Central Hospital, the only Government institution in the town, while some had to travel to Harare for treatment.

Council banking halls were deserted, making it difficult for residents to pay their bills.

Families were stranded with corpses at Unit L cemetery where the situation was worse.

The cemetery office was deserted and people had to bribe some of the workers before being allowed burying their loved ones.

Water faults were not being attended to while flowing sewage had become a menace in the streets.

The workers remained defiant to Minister Mupariwa's directive to go back to work and even hired Nyau dancers to entertain them outside council offices.

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