President reassures workers, blasts law

President Mugabe

President Mugabe

Lovemore Mataire Senior Reporter
The labour law is disadvantaging workers and Government is working fast on amending it to ensure employees are not fired will-nilly by their bosses, President Mugabe has said.

His comments come after employers fired more than 9 000 workers countrywide after giving them three months’ notice without going through the retrenchment process in line with a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The President spoke as he officially opened the Global Small and Medium Enterprises Expo in Harare yesterday where he emphasised that Government will soon amend the labour law that disadvantages workers.

He said the law that entitles the employer to dismiss workers after giving three months’ notice was unjust, adding that workers should not be treated as if they were in colonial Rhodesia where they were wantonly dismissed without any benefits.

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The President said the law must serve the people and not the people to serve the law.

“But kubva mati vanhu you go hameno zvenyu, going to the streets, in the streets, kupi?” he said.

“Notice yemwedzi mitatu? Ok, so we are now going to look at the law. We don’t want the law which is an ass.

“The law must be amended; we don’t blame the judges because the judges vanoti ndozvazvinotaura. Zvino ava vemakambani ndobva vomhanyirira voti aah tanga takaremerwa nevanhu vasina basa (the judges just interpret the law, but employers rushed to offload workers citing redundancy).

“Ko imi hupenyu hwenyu vemakambani hunobva kupi? Kurarama kwemakambani kunobva kubasa ravanoitirwa nevashandi (Where do your livelihoods as employers come from? The viability of your firms comes from the sweat of the workers).”

President Mugabe said Government needed to work out a legal framework of how companies handle workers.

“Hatingadaro kuvanhu vedu vanoendepi kana vamwe vagara muno vasina mabasa, mari yekuti vabadhare marent nemvura nezvimwe zvakadaro,” he said. “Anyway, we are looking at that situation. Sorry, sorry that this thing happened.”

President Mugabe said he had been briefed by the Harare Metropolitan Minister Cde Miriam Chikukwa that more than 9 000 workers have so far been dismissed.

Several companies embraced the Supreme Court judgement with speed after it was passed last week and started sacking workers without explanation after giving them three months’ notice.

The Supreme Court bench ruled in a case involving two Zuva Petroleum managers that common law still applies in the relationship between employers and their employees, allowing employers to dismiss workers on three month’s notice or pay in lieu of notice.

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