by Staff Reporter
SPIRITED efforts by the leadership of Harare City Council workers to boot-lick President Robert Mugabe’s increasingly powerful wife, Grace , did not stop the local authority from dismissing nearly half of its permanent workforce, as it this week sent home 3 000 workers.
“an icon, a pillar of strength who should talk to ‘Baba’
When the job dismissals started late last month, after being triggered by the July 17 Supreme Court ruling making it easy for employers to fire their workers, the executive of the Harare Municipal Workers’ Union invited Grace —who has no government position whatsoever—to help stop the job dismissals.
The workers’ union’s executive chairman,, flighted a well-choreographed birthday congratulatory message for Grace , which was repeatedly flighted on television.
The fawning message, however, did not start and end with Grace ’s turning 50 years on July 23, but went on to plead with the First Lady Grace to use her political influence to stop the massive job losses.
In the congratulatory message, Bungu described the First Lady Grace as “an icon, a pillar of strength who should talk to ‘Baba’ (President Robert Mugabe) to ensure he reverses the decision to give three months’ notice to workers”, saying that was retrogressive and taking people to the colonial days.
From the message, it was clear that the municipality’s workers had accessed inside information that the axe was going to fall on a number of them.
Their pleading with Grace however only served to delay the dismissals by a few weeks, but did not stop the process altogether as the municipality on Tuesday this week sacked 3000 workers, nearly half of its nearly 6 350 permanent staff. The also council employs hundreds of contracts workers.
Several government departments and many mismanaged State enterprises took advantage of the court ruling to contribute to more than 25 000 workers who lost their jobs inside a month.