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Blitz on Bulawayo firms

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has resumed a campaign aimed at forcing Bulawayo-based companies to improve the working conditions of their employees.

BY SILAS NKALA

The campaign, dubbed Bhadalani/Bhadharai (pay-up) was launched in 2011 after the realisation that several companies were taking months to pay their workers’ salaries.

In an interview, ZCTU’s Western Region officer Percy Mcijo said the placement of a number of companies under liquidation or judiciary management due to viability problems had greatly affected the campaign.

He said a number of the companies were failing to pay their workers as they were genuinely affected by the economic crunch.

“Some of the companies were run down by poor management and this affected many of our members who went for months without pay.
“Even now they still have outstanding arrears,” said Mcijo. “We are resuming the operation this month, at the same time mobilising workers for Workers Day on May 1.”

He said most of the companies were not being open to their workers about their financial status and operating environment.

“They just tell workers that they are not able to pay them without giving any reasons.  This creates problems between the two parties,” said Mcijo.

“Workers need to understand what is going on when they do not get their pay. This time we will conduct a wholesome approach engaging workers committees to find out progress on the issue of workers payments.”

He said the campaign would also look at the working conditions.
Mcijo said when the campaign was suspended last year, the ZCTU had visited 10 companies in Bulawayo which had not been paying their workers for up to six months.

“Some of them then complied with the statutory requirements which required them to pay workers, while some including  parastatals like the National Railways of Zimbabwe  are still struggling to clear salary arrears,”  he said.

“Though some of the companies are failing due to mismanagement, we noticed that others suffered due to economic challenges faced by the industry in the country.

It is possible that there are some that claim to be experiencing the same problems but hide behind the economic problems to cheat workers.”

Mcijo said the ZCTU was aware of companies that deliberately renege on paying workers and would soon take action against them as the campaign resumes this month.

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