Home » General » Goche Orders End to Strike

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche has ordered the termination of the strike by Chitungwiza Municipality workers pending determination of the dispute by the Labour Court.

The order came as service delivery has collapsed in the town, with clinics, cemeteries and garbage collection being the worst affected.

The workers are protesting non-payment of salary arrears to the tune of US$11 million. The strike started last Friday.

Minister Goche said the workers should go back to work within 24 hours of service of the order.

Council lawyers said the workers were served with the order yesterday and were expected back at work today.

Minister Goche’s decision came after the municipality appealed to Government, arguing that service delivery had collapsed and that the strike was unjustified.

“Pending determination of this matter, I further direct that the collective job action be terminated immediately and in any case within 24 hours of the service of this order,” he said.

Minister Goche said if the workers failed to attend the Labour Court to justify why they should continue with the strike, they faced imprisonment of up to five years.

“If you fail to show cause at the time and place notified, you shall be guilty of an offence, and liable to a fine not exceeding level 14 or to imprisonment not exceeding five years or both such fine and imprisonment,” he said.

Council lawyer Mr Rodgers Matsikidze of Matsikidze and Mucheche last week filed the application, arguing that the strike was unjustified and that the strike should be terminated pending its justification.

Several youths thronged Chitungwiza Town Centre yesterday seeking to replace the striking workers.

The town’s mayor, Mr Phillip Mutoti, said they turned the youths away to have time to solve their workers’ grievances.

“Youths were jostling to take the place of the striking workers, but management rejected their idea,” he said.

“We were in a meeting discussing the situation and briefing each other on how best we could deal with the striking force. Things have gone out of hand in areas like the essential services.”

A visit to the satellite town showed that patients were stranded at the council’s clinics and were forming long queues without being attended to.

At Seke South Clinic in Unit L, long queues had formed with only two nurses at the premises and the sister-in-charge.

Seke North Clinic was closed with only municipal police guarding the place.

At the graveyards in the town, mourners were being forced to dig their relatives’ graves because council employees had joined their peers in the industrial action.

Refuse has not been collected since the strike started and piles of plastic refuse bins could be seen lying on roadsides, while sewerage bursts had not been attended to.

Source : The Herald