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    Saturday, 7 May 2016

    Zewu holds march in Masvingo as ZCTU event flops

    • Mucheche pays tribute to Burombo


    MASVINGO- Top labour lawyer Celeb Mucheche has paid tribute to the late nationalist Benjamin Burombo for pioneering workers' rights in the country.
    He said this when he addressed Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union members gathered at a May Day function held at the Civic Centre in Masvingo. The Zewu workers marched around the city centre before converging at the city centre for addresses.
    The event by Zewu is the only one that was held in the city to commemorate the Workers' Day.
    A function organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at Mucheke Stadium attracted less than 20 people.
    "The march that you have just carried out around the CBD is very important as it has made a statement in terms of quality.
    "In Masvingo you are honoured as there is a historical building named after a very important person, Benjamin Burombo in terms workers' struggle in the country.
    "In 1948 Burombo organised a nationwide strike that crippled the whole country which forced the colonial regime to establish a Labour board where black workers would take their grievances," said Mucheche.
    He added that during that period information dissemination was very difficult but Burombo overcame all those obstacles and mobilised workers throughout the country and the black workers' wages were reviewed upwards.
    The labour lawyer went on to chronicle the history of the workers' struggle after independence when the Empowerment Act was passed to repeal the Reconciliation Act.
    In 1985 The Labour Relations Act was passed which for the first time in the history of workers allowed them to organise a strike and also set a minimum wage.
    When the Government implemented ESAP in 1990 another amendment was done to the Labour Relations Act which allowed companies to have a Code of Conduct which regulates the relationship between the employer and employee and it also made it easier for employers to dismiss workers if they breach the code of conduct. Mucheche talked about the infamous Supreme Court ruling of July 2015 which culminated in the dismissal of over 20 000 workers on short notice and the Labour Amendment Act No 5 of 2015.
    Meanwhile, the acting president of Congress of Zimbabwe Trade Unions (COZITU) Angeline Chitambo has castigated top management of companies for destroying employees' future by running down companies they manage.
    "Our employers are not sincere with us. They are not willing to share equitably the gains of our sweat. In as much as productivity is low, the proceeds thereof are being siphoned by a few individuals in director and managerial positions. Look at what is happening at NetOne, NSSA, CMED and Anti Corruption Commission, just to name a few," said Chitambo in her May Day statement.
    COZITU also made seven demands to the Government which are, wholesome and inclusive labour law reform, alignment of Labour Act to the new constitution, transparency in use of NSSA fans, Aids Levy and for workers to access ARVs freely.
    They also demanded the immediate resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, compulsory Employee Share Ownership Plans for all companies and workers to be paid above PDL salaries.
    The celebrations were held under the theme: Workers' rights are basic human rights, let us reposition ourselves in defence of our job security.
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