By Alois Vinga
GRAIN Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) has accused its workforce of plans to stage a demonstration over wages in violation of the dictates of the Labour Act and without exhausting the available channels of resolving the conflict.
Food industry workers coalescing under the umbrella United Federation for Food and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (UFFAWUZ) have notified their employers of the intention to stage a demonstration and to down their tools.
But GMAZ national chairman Tafadzwa Musarara feels the action was in bad spirit as it was being done irrespective of that there were already ongoing discussions between the parties to remedy the matter.
Despite the fact that discussions were still ongoing between the parties, the union has notified the employer of the intention to stage a demonstration, prompting GMAZ to plead with the Labour Minister, Paul Mavima to block the demonstrations.
“One of the trade union parties to our collective bargaining UFFAWUZ wrote to us as the employer representative party advising of a dispute of interest between them and our representatives to the wage negotiation.
“Regrettably, UFFAWUZ has threatened that they will be committing various acts of collective job action that will include demonstrations and picketing in gross violation of section 104 of the Labour Act as they did not provide us with adequate notice (14 days) as required by law,” said Musarara.
The millers group appealed to the Labour Minister in terms of Section 106 of the Labour Act to do the needful and stop this intended illegal action.
In another letter addressed to UFFAWUZ, Musarara expressed dismay over the labour group’s double standards saying as the employer representative, the principal is confused as to the intention of the letter notifying the demonstration.
“The confusion is arising from the fact that on one hand, you claim to be willing to engage for a progressive discussion and deliberation of the matter yet on the other end, you threaten a demonstration in violation of the law which compels you to provide a 14 days written notice coupled with sufficient cause for your need to take up the collective job action,” Musarara said.
UFFAWUZ has been accused of causing confusion in the food sector and conducting business in a highly unethical manner tilted towards self -benefit by the country’s most influential labour federation, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions.
Allegations of collecting union dues by UFFAWUZ from innocent workers while in the process short-changing employees are rampant across the sector.
Over the years, the majority of workers in the food sector have defected to the ZCTU affiliated Food Federation and Allied Workers Union due to its professional conduct.