12 July 2014

Zimbabwe: Chitungwiza Strike Ends

The one-week strike by Chitungwiza municipality workers that paralysed service delivery in the satellite town ended yesterday after the employees heeded an ultimatum by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche.

Minister Goche gave the workers 24 hours for the termination of the strike pending determination of the dispute by the Labour Court.

The order came as service delivery had collapsed in the town, with clinics, cemeteries and garbage collection being the worst affected.

The workers were protesting against non-payment of salary arrears to the tune of US$11 million.

Workers spokesperson Reverend Ephraim Katsina said workers reported for work after seeing a story published by The Herald on Minister Goche's order.

"We advised our workers to return to work upon seeing the article in your paper and we did not want to risk them by losing their jobs," he said.

"Our lawyers have since applied for the urgent chamber application to the High Court to nullify the order." Minister Goche said if the workers failed to attend the Labour Court to justify why they should continue with the strike, they faced imprisonment of up to five years.

Chitungwiza municipality chamber secretary Mrs Priscilla Vengesai said the workers were back at work.

"Workers reported for work today and there were no people milling around the premises as they used to do during the strike," he said.

"As council, we wrote a circular addressing all workers to report for work after receiving the show cause order to end the strike. All departments were functional and despite the fact that the strike has been called off, we are still concerned by the workers' welfare."

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