Robert Mugabe ’s office has denied responsibility for the mass retrenchment of workers by parastatals after the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) said it was under pressure to use a recent Supreme Court ruling to reduce staff.
ZTA chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke this week said they had received a government directive to cut down on employees.
Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba yesterday told NewsDay that as far as he was concerned, the move by State-linked institutions to fire workers was not government policy, but “came from a head of a parastatal”.
“That came from a head of a parastatal, it did not come from a government official,” Charamba said.
“You can check with the Tourism ministry assuming they gave out such a directive.”
Tourism minister Walter Mzembi was not answering his phone yesterday.
Key State enterprises, some of which have been battling to stay afloat, have latched on the Supreme Court ruling to terminate worker’s contracts on a three months’ notice and without benefits.
Institutions that have sent thousands of their workers home after the Supreme Court ruling include CMED, Zinara, Air Zimbabwe and the National Railways of Zimbabwe, among others.
Although Mugabe has come out condemning the law being used to “retrench” workers, State institutions have joined the bandwagon firing employees willy-nilly.
Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday posted on his micro-blogging site, Twitter, that Cabinet never directed State institutions to fire workers using the three months’ notice law.
“It’s a lie that government has ordered job cuts in parastatals and Kaseke ain’t a reliable source . . . he can’t say it’s a Cabinet directive not least because he knows he does not speak for Cabinet,” Moyo said.
The majority of the parastatals that have laid off workers over the past few days fall under Obert Mpofu’s Transport ministry.
But Mpofu yesterday distanced himself from the job cuts at parastatals under his ministry.
“These companies are run by boards with chairpersons, I don’t run boards, I run a ministry,” he said.
“You are being used, why are you linking me to this? Are you saying the 18 000 are under my ministry? We have the least people affected.”
The Supreme Court ruling has caused uncertainty among employees who no longer have job security.