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THE Zimpapers group has fired 100 employees, taking advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing companies to dismiss workers on three months’ notice in a development that has seen more than 18,000 people lose their jobs.
The dismissed workers go home with just pay in lieu of the three months’ notice as well as cash for the seven days worked in August.
Listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and majority-owned by the government, Zimpapers publishes The Herald, The Sunday Mail and The Chronicle, among a host of other daily and weekly titles.
The company revealed, in a Saturday report headlined ‘ZBC fires top executives’, that it was sending home some 100 of its own employees.
Those dismissed were ordered to “immediately hand over any company assets in their possession upon receipt of the termination letters”.
The termination letters read: “This letter serves to inform you that Zimpapers (1980) Limited has decided to terminate your employment contract on notice.
“The Group has passed a decision to exercise its right under common law which allows either party to terminate the employment contract on notice.
“In accordance with the provisions of Section 12 (4) of the Labour Act, we hereby give you three (3) months’ notice to terminate your contract of employment.
“The notice shall start to run on delivery of this letter, or to the domicilium that you chose under your employment contract or such other address notified to Human Resources Department at your Branch by you in writing.
“Notwithstanding the effective date of the termination, you are hereby directed not to report for work with immediate effect (that is, on your receipt of this termination letter).”
Rival media organisations including publishers of the Daily News and Newsday have also dismissed workers in recent days using the Supreme Court ruling.
The ruling has been widely condemned by labour unions with Cabinet issuing conflicting positions.
Industry minister Mike Bimha said the ruling would help struggling companies get rid of workers the firms can’t pay although government says it will present amendments before Parliament to stop the jobs carnage.
“You cannot continue to have a lot of employees when business is not doing well,” Bimha told a recent meeting of local industrialists.
But Cabinet colleague and ruling Zanu PF party spokesman Simon Khaya Moyo said Cabinet had agreed to stop the dismissals.
“Nobody wants to see any worker suffer,” Khaya Moyo said after a mid-week party politburo meeting.
“The law, which has led to massive retrenchment of workers, was being reviewed to contain a possible crisis in the labour market.
“The Labour law amendment Bill will be presented to Parliament shortly as it has already been approved by Cabinet.” source-newzimbabwe