MEIKLES Departmental Stores last week Friday served 22 workers at its Mutare branch with letters of termination of work without offering retrenchment packages.
The Meikles group has been carrying out a retrenchment exercise that will see some 100 workers lose their jobs across the country.
Mutare workers committee chairperson, Edwin Marimbire, confirmed that 22 employees were shown the exit door without a golden handshake despite serving the company for many years.
He said the exercise affected both managers and shop floor staff with only five permanent workers surviving the chop.
“In February, we were addressed by our superiors that there was going to be retrenchment which was to be called a ‘mutual separation’ exercise,” Marimbire said in an interview.
“In this exercise, the management was to discuss with each worker separately and get our views with the regards to the exercise.”
He said they were however, surprised last Friday when management sent a representative from Harare who did not identify himself but was escorted by police details to confirm the retrenchment.
“The person just came with police and conveyed the message. He did not talk about our benefits. The mutual separation exercise the company promised was not even conducted so that we agree and sign on our packages,” said Marimbire.
He said the workers would continue to report for duty until the management comes clean on their packages.
“They should come and face us not to just chase us away. We will continue to report for duty. This is a non-event,” he said.
A termination letter addressed to Marimbire from the Meikles Managing Director P. Ellse reads: “This letter serves as notice of your contract of employment, in terms of section 12(4) of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) either party is entitled to give three months’ notice of termination of the contract of employment. Accordingly, your contract will be terminated with effect from Friday 20 March 2015.
“You will be paid three months’ salary in lieu of notice period in the sum of US$ 1002 in addition to the tree months’ salary the organization will pay a sum of US$551 in appreciation of the services that you rendered to the organization. As of 31 March you will be paid US$103 as cash lieu of leave.”
Marimbire said workers were not refusing to be retrenched.Advertisement
“What we want is justice because we were served with the retrenchment letters without notice or any offer letter,” said Marimbire.
He said workers should be given their packages, adding that some have served the company for more than 25 years.
Efforts to get comment from Meikles management were fruitless.