Zimpost, one of the leading postal, communication and financial services provider in Zimbabwe, has fired almost 200 workers weeks after the recent Supreme Court judgment that empowered employers to fire workers after giving them three months’ notice.
By Tongai Mwenje
The State owned company joined several companies that have also terminated employees’ contracts using the same judgment. Sources at Zimpost said almost 200 employees were sent packing.
The source close to the current wave confirmed that this has been happening from Harare main post office and Bulawayo main post office. “This has been happening from Harare Main Post Office and Byo Main Post Office,” the source confirmed.
According to the source, security department was the first to be shown the exit door under the 3months notices clause, then Operations Department which has most employees at Harare Central Sorting Office (HCSO).
“Employees started being fired as from Friday 14 Aug, Security department was the first to be given their 3months notices, then Operations Dpt which has most employees at Harare Central Sorting Office (HCSO)- mail sorting, drivers, mechanics etc.” the source reaffirmed .
The source revealed that the letters (three months’ notices) were only given to 136 employees. Among these, 61 were on contract and their contracts were not renewed. Another 50 affected employees were above 55 years of age and were given early retirement and they are going to receive their packages and pensions.
“On Saturday 15 August 2015 some employees were called from home/leave to collect their letters. Some employees were on contract basis for years and were told their contracts have been terminated.
Employees above 55years were not spared; they were also given their letters of termination of employment,”the source revealed.
“This criterion claimed the scalps across all departments and many Postal Managers and Area Postal managers who have been with the company for over 3 decades and above,” retorted the source.
The close source also said that some senior management were forced to write examinations and it’s not yet clear if those who failed are the ones fired, but Area Postal Manager for Bulawayo and Mutare have fallen victim of the dismissal wave.
On Monday 17 Aug, the source continued, the remaining few staff in the Property services department were fired and this meant the department was no longer functional.
The source also revealed the drama that occurred on Monday at Harare and Bulawayo Main Post offices. Some employees had to be recalled at Harare Main Post office after a power failure and at Bulawayo offices no one could turn on the Generator. This prompted to the recall of an electrician, plumber, builder and painter.
The firing of workers by Zimpost comes at a time when the Labour Bill that seeks to protect employees from unilateral dismissals by employers has sailed in the National Assembly and is set to be read in the Senate today. A few disgruntled fired employees are planning to take the company to court.
Clause 5 of the Bill says those who lose jobs on contract termination are entitled to minimum retrenchment benefits that include one month’s salary for every two years of service. This will apply to both retrenchees in general and workers whose contracts were terminated on or after July 17.
Section 12 (4a) prohibits employers from terminating an employment contract on notice unless such termination is in terms of an employment or model code.
It also makes termination possible where both parties mutually agree in writing, or if the employee was engaged for a fixed period. Workers with open-ended contracts and whose employment is terminated in terms of subsection 4(a) will be eligible for compensation.
Labour unions say that more than 20 000 workers have lost their jobs since the July 17 Supreme Court ruling.