Union demands ZIMASCO to stop retrenchment exercise

The National Union of Metallurgical and Allied Industries of Zimbabwe (NUMAIZ) has demanded that the Zimbabwe Mining and Steel Company (ZIMASCO) end illegal dismissals of workers and pay outstanding union dues.

The Kwekwe-based ferrochrome producer has reportedly compulsorily retrenched more than 200 workers from its various subsidiaries across the country.

The company notified the laid-off workers that May 31, 2024 would be their last working day.

The affected workers refused to sign the dismissal letters as there was no mention of the packages or the short notice.

ZIMASCO said it had taken this drastic measure due to operational challenges that forced it to temporarily close four of its six furnaces and leave it operating with two.

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However, in a letter seen by NewZimbabwe.com Addressed to the Human Resources Manager of ZIMASCO, NUMAIZ Secretary General Henry Tarumbira demanded that the retrenchment exercise be stopped. He said:

We urgently ask for an immediate stop to the dismissal of 200 workers because we believe that the process is unfair and contradicts the Labor Law…

We hold that we give you seven business days to pay union dues and completely abandon the illegal dismissal process or instigate the correct dismissal process. Furthermore, we declare that our legal advisors are now addressing the issues.

We hope this is in order and if you require further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned within seven days from the date of receipt of this letter.

Under the Labor Law, the retrenchment process begins with the implementation of measures to prevent the retrenchment exercise as outlined in Section 12D, which both the employer and employee agree to.

However, when these measures fail after their implementation for no more than that year, the employer may notify the reduction of staff through the Works Council.

Subsequently, a layoff committee consisting of employer and employee representatives is formed, which is tasked with deliberating on layoff packages.

If the parties agree, they will accept the package, but if they do not reach an agreement, they have room to seek other avenues through the National Employment Council, the Ministry of Labor or the courts.

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