Work-related accidents increase

wellington_chibhebheNSSA blamed for abandoning responsibility
HARARE Dozens of Zimbabwean workers continue to die as a result of work-related accidents, while many more are maimed for life. (Pictured: Wellington Chibebe)

Zimbabwes Labour and Social Welfare ministry this week revealed alarming statistics of annual deaths and injuries, with the current year threatening to become one of the bloodiest in recent years.

In a Workers Day speech delivered on her behalf by a ministry official on Monday, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paurina Mpariwa Gwanyanya, said the prevalence of work related accidents was cause for concern.

NSSA records indicate that in 2010 there were 4 410 serious accidents and nine of them were fatalities compared to 3 122 injuries and 64 fatalities recorded in 2009, said Mpariwa.

This year alone, NSSA has already recorded 1 159 serious accidents and 17 deaths by April 2011. So you can imagine how many more will die before the end of the year.

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe said his organisation was concerned with the prevalence of work-related accidents and blamed this on Zimbabwes social security authority NSSA of abandoning its responsibility.

NSSA which is supposed to be doing factory inspections is not doing so. Its their role to make sure that labour accidents are minimised, he said, adding that the labour administration in the Labour and Social Welfare ministry was not adequately resourced to stem the carnage.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwes employment sector continues to see massive retrenchments as a result of firm closures and viability constraints by local companies.

According to the labour ministry, a total of 4 101 employees were retrenched in 2009.

The number increased in 2010 where 6 972 employees lost their jobs.

The banking sector accounted for the highest number of retrenchments with 2 436 employees being affected. Of the number, 1 140 were from Zimbabwes central bank.

This year alone, 1 273 have since been retrenched from January to March.

Mpariwa said her ministry would strive to ensure affected workers receive sustainable and equitable exit packages.

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