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Harare City Council Orders Easipark to Rehire Workers

Harare, Zimbabwe
The Harare City Council has ordered Easipark, which runs several parking bays in central Harare, to reinstate 40 workers it had dismissed, triggering a strike by employees.

Harare Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto says the council has tasked Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi to ensure the dispute between Easipark managers and the fired employees is resolved.

Mr. Chiroto tells VOA Studio 7 the council expects the 40 workers, who on Tuesday were dismissed with the news that their contracts would not be renewed, to be back at work by Friday.

Easipark is a joint venture between Easihold of Zimbabwe and the Harare City Council. The company, which started operations in 2009, is reportedly generating sizable annual profits, but Harare officials allege that the council is not getting its share.

It has taken Easihold to court in an effort to terminate the joint venture. However, it is not clear whether the termination of the 40 workers is related to the partners’ dispute, as the workers say no reason was given.

To protest the terminations, remaining Easipark workers gathered at the company’s offices on Julius Nyerere Way for two days, leaving only a few employees manning the parking bays in the central business district.

Jason Kautsa, chairman for the workers committee, says employees wanted the company's mostly South African management team, headed by Pagias Dube, to resign over what Mr. Kautsa calls mismanagement and unfair labour practices.

Kautsa said the employees will march through the city on Friday if their colleagues are not reinstated.

Easipark management could not be reached for comment.
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