Zanu destroyed workers union – Matombo

lovemore_matomboHARARE - The MDC must initiate a political decision to reinstate 2,135 Tel-one and Postal service employees dismissed from work on political grounds by the previous Zanu (PF) government in 2004, President of the Communication and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CASWUZ) Lovemore Matombo (Pictured) has said.

The workers, who were fired for demanding increased salaries, made up 65 per cent of the total organizations manpower. Matombo said the dismissal was a Zanu (PF) grand plan to destroy the workers union which was perceived as militant and a threat to President Robert Mugabes autocratic rule. We have engaged Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the minister under which the affected workers fall, Nelson Chamisa, to make a corrective political decision as the workers were dismissed for allegedly supporting the MDC. The MDC must not take a soft diplomatic approach towards the issue as the dismissal judgment was reached following suspected political interference at the supreme court. How can the highest court of appeal rule that 2,135 workers had to be fired as they were absent from work without official leave? Matombo asked.

He said that though his union respected rulings made by the judiciary, it was not happy about the supreme court ruling and how the judgment was reached. Matombo, whose union recently sensitized the International Labor Organization delegation in Harare about the unfair dismissals, said: The supreme court quoted a labor act which indicated that a worker who absents himself from work for five days in a year should be dismissed. The referred Act was not appropriate for the circumstances. The dismissal judgment by the supreme court overturned previous labour and High court rulings, which were in favour of the striking workers. The union appealed to the High Court following refusal by management at Tel-one and the postal services to honour the labour ruling.

High Court Judge Rita Makarawu categorically upheld the ruling made by the labour court that the workers should be reinstated as they had a justified case, said Matombo. Following the Supreme Court judgment, CASWUZ took their case to the International Labour Organisation in 2006 for them to impress on the Mugabe government the need for fair treatment of workers. Nothing positive came out of the lobby. More than 400 of the dismissed workers have since been reported dead before justice has been done. Matombo suspected most of the deaths were as a result of stress due to job loses and inability by the dismissed workers to raise money for medical bills and decent food. We hope the MDC will give the case the urgency it deserves. With the advent of democracy, we expect the dismissed workers to be re-instated, Matombo added.

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