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Zimra employees plot a crippling strike

by Staff reporter
05 Aug 2023 at 19:43hrs | Views
THE Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has moved to avert a looming strike amid allegations that top management staffers are creaming off lucrative US$ allowances at a time ordinary workers are wallowing in poverty.

Sources at the tax authority who spoke to NewZimbabwe this week said efforts to resolve the matter amicably had reached a deadlock prompting the workers to opt for a crippling strike.

"We are demanding a 150% increase in basic pay of which 55 % must be paid in US$ based on the level of collections in US$ which is still way below the level of US$ transactions in the economy standing at 76% as reported by ZIMSTAT," alleged one insider on condition of anonymity.

The source revealed that non –managerial workers are taking home a minimum of ZW$244 000 and a high of ZW$500 000 with just a small portion of the wages being translated to the US$ portion.

"In comparison, management staff is feasting on US$ allowances ranging from a low of US$1 000 to US$  5 500 while non-managerial workers are getting between US$200 and a high of US$500," the source said.

Irked by the deadlock, the workers have obtained a Certificate of No Settlement in terms section 104(2) (a) of the Labour Act chapter 28.01.

They have also proceeded to issue Notice period for collective job action of seven days as required by the new Labour Amendment Act.

With just one step left to see the workers going through a voting exercise to greenlight the strike, ZIMRA blocked the process arguing that due process was not followed.

"I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated August 2 2023 requesting for permission to allow Labour Officers and NEC ZIMRA Designated Agent to conduct a ballot.

"The request is defective in that it should have come from the Labour Ministry.This irregularity makes it impossible for me to grant permission as the latter did not make the request," a letter from a top ZIMRA Commissioner General (CG), Regina Chinamasa addressed to the workers said.

However, the taxman's workers through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority Trade Union (ZIMRATU) have challenged the decision to bar the voting process arguing that all legalities have been met.

"In your letter, you allege that we were not supposed to have written the letter of request for reasonable access rather, the Ministry of Labour officers should have written. We strongly disagree with this allegation because its founding basis is fundamentally defective.

"Firstly, the Labour Act, in Section 63(3b) provides that where a designated agent is authorised to redress any dispute or unfair labour practice in terms of subsection (3a), no labour officer shall have jurisdiction in the matter. So it is unbelievable that Ministry of Labour officers would intervene in this matter to lead on a matter outside their jurisdiction," the workers said.

Further, ZIMRATU said in terms of section 7(2)(c) of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 , ZIMRA has a statutory obligation as an employer, to promote democracy at the workplace by permitting a representative of the appropriate trade union at the workplace.

"We believe that our request for reasonable access to conduct a Ballot process is lawful and we are entitled to it. We hope that you will reconsider your decision and withdraw your letter as requested," added ZIMRATU.

Source - NewZimbabwe