The General Secretary’s Report

My report shall give an insight of the major developments in the union as well as in other social partners and also gives recommendations which can be used by this committee in its deliberations.

  1. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING
  • ENERGY INDUSTRY:

The Employers Association were adamant to negotiate the 2014 salaries of which the unions threatened to embark on a nationwide strike. In response to the notice, ZESA offered 4% interim increase. PZL later offered 2.5% increase. Other energy companies have not yet offered anything for 2014 claiming that they do not have a mandate.

Having realised that employers’ association was buying time to avoid negotiations, we reported the unfair labour practice to the Ministry of Labour and the parties appeared before the Labour Officer for conciliation on 1 December 2014. The Employers’ party reported that that it was waiting for the Ministry of Energy to give a mandate. A certificate of no settlement was then issued and the matter was referred to arbitration. A pre-arbitration conference was held on 12th January 2015. We expect that the arbitrator will force the employers’ association representatives to come to the negotiating table.

The NEC General Council met on 15th January 2014 and the employer’s representatives reported that management will meet the Ministry of Energy for the mandate and will revert back to the NEC before the end of January 2014.

Zinwa Works Council met in Harare on 16th December 2014 to finalise on 2014 CBN. Management raised that they were not able to offer anything in 2014 as they are failing to even pay existing salaries. Therefore they preferred to shelve 2014 increases and promised to pay something in 2015. The Workers Committee could not abandon 2014 salary negotiations as they were suspicious that those were just promises which were meant to mislead them and frustrate the whole process.

Having realised that employers negotiated in bad faith and that they only wanted to buy time, workers committee declared a deadlock and the Works Council chairman shall present to his principals for a way forward.

I wish to report that ZINWA negotiations are frustrating as trade union representatives just attend as observers. It is therefore necessary that we advocate for 100% participation as management is always undermine the workers committee representatives which ordinarily cannot take action whenever it is necessary.

  • EMA:

The National Works Council, with the assistance of ZEWU, concluded the CBN for 2014 and workers were offered 9% increase.

  • CPMZ

The union assisted the workers committee in the negotiations and the works council agreed on 7% increase to basic salaries. The parties also agreed on housing and transport allowances as well as school fees, long service and overtime. The parties are expected to start negotiations for 2015 in February.

  1. SALARY ARREARS:

ZINWA management failed to pay workers’ salaries for five (5) months in contravention of Section 12A (3) of the Labour Act and unanimously decided to pay current salaries without giving reference to arrears. The office raised a complaint to management on the same, of which the former then furnished the workers committee with how the salary arrears would be paid to each individual employee. We are also worried as management failed to pay current salaries for the month of December 2014 violating the agreement made at works council. Workers should therefore not remain quiet as their rights are violated left, right and centre.

Having failed to get their salaries, the workers organised a sit-in on 12th January 2015.

Comrades, action can only be taken if there is proper coordination especially from workers themselves. However such action has not been possible as the ZINWA workers committee failed to involve us in the planning process. Rather; they are called in management and board meetings where they are politicised and convinced on company performance and human resources issues. The conclusions are done outside meetings, hence Works Council negotiations are just a formality and the union’s presence as observers does not add a significant value.

  1. ZESA 2012 AWARD

There is still non-compliance with the arbitral award issued in favour employees regarding the 2012 Collective Bargaining dispute. No communication has been done so far on the implementation of the award. The office communicated with the CEO demanding implementation date and in response he indicated that ZESA has not so far violated the award as it was given 6 months of compliance.

The office wrote a memo and sent to branches on 12 November 2014 requesting whether to go ahead with a demonstration as recommended by some members. Another memo was sent on 28 January 2014 encouraging workers to take action. The branches have not so far given their position; however the worker representatives withdrew their participation in workplace structures, mainly works council meetings and disciplinary hearings.

I therefore request this office to come up with the way forward as we should fight for what rightly belong to us. Workers should be paid on or before 16th March, which is the deadline for the 6 month period given by the arbitrator to pay salary arrears.

  1. GREENFUELS:

The Ministry of labour Chipinge office earlier on denied us representation in conciliation following our complaint on lack of neutrality of the officers in favour of Greenfuels. We met the Regional Principal Labour Officer and resolved the matter and Chipinge office was instructed to accept our presence in conciliation sessions.

Comrades; the burning issue is the victimisation of workers committee members. Professor Madhuku is currently handling a case of workers committee dismissal (A. Shumba and 9 others vs Greenfuels).

  1. ZX FUELS:

Fifteen workers joined the organisation and we have since successfully represented Mr. Tom in the disciplinary hearing. The members are currently organising their subscriptions.

  1. PARALEGAL:

Zimbabwe Labour Centre paralegal programme 2015/16 enrolment is in March. I request this committee to deliberate on this issue.

  1. NATIONAL YOUTH CONFERENCE:

ZEWU young workers conducted a conference at The Village Inn, Nyanga, on 12th -13th December, 2014 under the theme ““Preparing youth of today for vibrant trade unions”. Invited guests included NUM (SA), NUM(Namibia) PTUZ, CASWUZ, NEWU, Leather, M & M, MG Legal Practitioners, ZINASU and ISO.

The youth came up with attached resolutions

  1. ORGANISING & MEMBERSHIP SERVICING:

It is critical that the union timeously recruits and services its membership. As from the last National Executive Committee the office and members of management committee visited the following areas and addressed membership:

Norton, Chegutu, Kadoma, Chiredzi/Triangle, Rutenga, Gweru, Kwekwe, Gokwe, Munyati, Redcliff, Bulawayo, Bindura, Chinhoyi, Karoi, Kariba, Mutare, Chitungwiza and Beatrice, Esigodini, Gwanda and Beitbridge.

Despite attacks by the sweet heart union, new members joined the organisation. Bulawayo, Harare, Norton and Rusape branches managed to claim back members who had crossed to ESWUZ.

I once again recommend that that the Presidium and office should conduct workplace visits and address the workers bearing in mind that other competing unions are not resting in an effort to grab our members. We need to have constant visits to service membership. Membership retention is all about our visibility. The leadership should therefore always be on their toes and urgently visit the workers to counter rival unions’ propaganda.

I am happy to report that the organisation managed to meet most of the branches in 2014. Given that the organisation has outstanding issues especially ZESA 2012 dispute, 2014 CBN and ZINWA salary arrears as well as other challenges, it is necessary to intensify the exercises so as to work with membership and decide as a team.

  1. MEMBERSHIP CALENDARS:

As a result of cash flow challenges the office could not procure membership calendars in time, hence the need to work on the project urgently.

  1. ZCTU CASE:

The parties appeared before the High Court Judge on 13th February and the case was further postponed to 4-6 February, 2015 for final hearing and conclusion.

  1. INDUSTRIALL CONFERENCE

The regional conference was held centred on 5 global goals namely:

  • Building union power
  • Confronting global capital
  • Defending workers rights
  • Fighting precarious work and
  • Sustainable industrial employment

There were presentations by IndustriAll secretariat and affiliates which guided the discussions. I am happy to report that our president was part of the panel and that ZEWU team actively participated to raise the union’s flag high.

  1. SAEN:

The Assistant General Secretary and Comrade Present Chile attended the SAEN summit held in Pretoria, South Africa on 13-14 October, 2014. The summit dealt with a number of issues affecting workers in various countries in the energy sector. It was centred on 5 key issues which included defending workers’ rights; promoting gender balance; fighting precarious work; promoting industrial employment and campaigning safe workplaces. The summit raised the need to develop SAEN as a solidarity network of which ZEWU was taken as a case study. It was also resolved that the countries shall share information on collective bargaining.

  1. WORK AHEAD OF 2015
  • Cases:

I am happy that the handling of cases improved in 2014. However, there is still a backlog which should be cleared by the office and national executive committee members. As a cost effective measure, I appeal to all of you to assist in handling cases in your respective constituencies to avoid costs associated with travels across constituencies.

  • Education and Training:

Leadership, branches, women, youth should undergo training to be sensitised on issues relevant to them. However we should not forget that there are limited resources which need us to apply the concept of opportunity cost. We need to prioritise our activities. Leadership should come up with a work plan which will guide the organisation in its operations.

I am happy to report that ZEWU/Belgian capacity building project is kick starting in April, 2015 with Leadership training. We need to take advantage of the workshop to evaluate the organisation and design a work-plan.

We are making follow-ups on the German Women project to ensure that the organisation gets sponsorship this year.

  • Organising:

Every one of us has a role to play for the growth of the organisation. The organising department together with the leadership should consistently organise and service membership. This should be a continuous process.

  • ZESA 2012:

This is a burning case which should be closely dealt with. In addition to the legal process, workers are expected to stand up and demand their money.

  • ZINWA Salary Arrears:

Like the ZESA 2012, it is prudent that ZINWA workers, with the assistance of the union confront management for payment of long standing salary arrears. This can only be possible if the national workers committee guides the workers and involve the union in the process.

  • International Events – International Women’s Day – 8 March, May Day, October 7:

These are critical as they bring workers together in an effort to fight for their rights. Despite budgetary constraints, the union should give these events the priority they deserve.

  • Database:

The Office is through with database. However, it should be updated from time to time. Since we have a starting point, the exercise will be easier.

  • Offices Lease:

The organisation started 2015 with unwanted lease conditions and treatment which include vehicle clamping, immediate withdrawal of Quantum parking space, strict office opening time, amongst other issues. The Secretariat ran around and secured a wing at Construction House 6th Floor. I request this committee to deliberate on this issue.

  1. CONCLUSION:

2014 has not been a good year mainly as a result of liquidity crunch and union obligations especially national events especially the National Council, National Youth Conference, International Women’s Day, May Day and Decent Work Day and. I am happy to report that despite challenges associated with the events, we managed to conduct them successfully. I hope that the economy will improve in 2015 to make our work easier.

Prepared by:

Chikuni

General Secretary

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