Workers’ hopes for a reprieve from the Constitutional Court barring employers from continuing to fire employees were dashed Wednesday when the court ruled that the case by two Zuva Petroleum managers against termination of employment on notice was invalid.
Justice Vernanda Ziyambi ruled the two, Don Nyamande and Kingstone Donga, who were represented by Professor Lovemore Madhuku, had no legal right of appeal.
The judge ruled as the Zanu PF politburo, the party’s senior decision-making body, was meeting in the capital to discuss, among other issues, the mounting job losses, now said to be over 18,000 since a Supreme Court ruling some two weeks ago against the two managers which allowed firms to fire workers on notice.
At least 45 companies have used the ruling to fire employees on notice and more, including the state-controlled Zimpapers stable, are expected to fire their workers as they try to reduce labor costs.
Justice Ziyambi said no constitutional issues were raised by the two managers in their appeal, adding an appeal can only be noted at the Constitutional Court when the Supreme Court is alleged to have erred in determining some constitutional issues raised before it.
The move gives employers room to fire more employees as they seek to reduce labor costs.
“The situation for many companies in Zimbabwe is unsustainable,” said Notice Nhachi from Harare.
“What we have seen is that companies are frantically trying to reduce their labor costs ahead of possible labor law amendments being introduced in parliament.”
The government and its partners in the tripartite negotiating forum and agreed on urgent amendments to the country’s labor law. The amendments may be introduced in the House soon.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which has called for a workers’ strike Saturday to protest the continuing lay-offs, did not attend the meeting.