Gweru Fires 60 Contract Workers

By Mark Mhukayesango

GWERU, 1 September 2015- Sixty Gweru Council contract workers were left licking their wounds
after they were fired today, a development that has sparked outrage
among the workers who dispute the criteria of dismissal since they are
200 in total.
The dismissed workers who were on three months contracts with council will
get their monthly salaries on Wednesday, according to a Workers Committee
The retrenchment will not be costly for council because as it is not
obliged to pay packages since the workers were on fixed term contracts.
The termination letter written addressed by Acting Chamber Secretary
Gibson Chingwadza, dated August 31 aptly states that the contract
workers were to stop work immediately and would not be reinstated.
“Notice is hereby given that your fixed term contract of employment is
expiring on 31st August 2015 and it shall not be renewed,” states the
letter seen by Radio VOP.
The termination letter also vaguely states that the employees will be
awarded terminal benefits.
“By copy of this memo, the finance department is requested to prepare
your terminal benefits,” states the letter.
Last week there were reports that 100 employees were facing the axe
and council sources say more scalps will be claimed as the week
A group of fired workers could be seen milling around the Town House
waiting for the Human Resources to address them, complained about
their dismissal saying they were not given any notice.
“Why couldn’t they wait for my contract to expire? I have 2 months
left on my contract, the HR has to explain,” Rumbidzai Chando a female
employee said as she showed her termination of contract letter to
Radio VOP.
Chando looked dejected as she continued to wait for the acting HR
manager who seemed not to heed their call.
She hopes that Local Government Minister, Savior Kasukuwere will
intervene to stop the dismissals.
“We pray that Kasukuwere stops this madness,” said Chando.
A fortnight ago, Kasukuwere blocked the firing of 3 000 Harare City
Council workers after council had plotted a massive retrenchment.
Brains Masoka, a cleaner and a group of other dismissed workers
demanded audience with Commissioner Tsunga Mhangami who was reportedly
in a meeting.
“He should come out here and tell us what is really going on. When the
Mayor was there, we were protected, but since he came everything has
just gone wrong,” Masoka said.
Late last week there was a mini strike at Town Council as contract
workers who made the bulk of workers protested for their backdated
Sources say the contract workers were being punished for their “rowdy”
Speaking to Radio VOP, Workers Committee spokesperson Cornelius
Selipiwe said the committee was not notified about the termination of
“Even though the employer has the right to terminate contracts, they
should have alerted us first because were shocked to see workers
lamenting their dismissal in the morning,” Selipiwe said.
“The 60 employees are likely to get their dues by tomorrow,” said
Selipiwe who also questioned the criteria used to fire the contract
Speaking to Radio VOP Town Clerk, Daniel Matawu said council is
saddled with a huge wage bill which is not sustainable for its
operations hence the retrenchment.
“We have been failing to pay workers for months now and it is not
sustainable to be spending most of our revenue for salaries. We have
service delivery issues to also worry about,” said Matawu.
Council wages gobbles up to 70 percent of the budget, whilst ministry
directive should be 30 percent.
“Some grades haven’t been paid for at least two months and we
understand that families are suffering, but we could not act
otherwise,” said Matawu.
Gweru has also taken advantage of the July 17 Supreme Court ruling to
lay off contract workers who will go home empty handed as they are not
entitled to three months salaries after dismissal