The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has accused prominent businessman and entrepreneur Strive Masiyiwa of ill-treating his employees at his local businesses, Econet Wireless and Steward Bank. The ZCTU made it clear that it was against he Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s decision to bar Kwese TV saying that it did not have a valid licence. However, it took the opportunity to call out Strive for the alleged ill treatment of workers. In a statement the ZCTU said
SUBJECT: KWESE TV LICENCE: Masiyiwa must practice what he preaches:
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is disturbed by developments on the licencing of KWESE TV owned by Strive Masiyiwa by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe. The banning of KWESE TV was a clear denial of alternative voices for Zimbabweans by authorities and should be condemned to the core. The move deprives the country of a variety of media outlets, the much needed and investment and jobs to jumpstart the ailing economy. After 37 years of independence, it’s high time airwaves are opened up for local to have an opportunity to enjoy diversity just like other democratic societies.
While the ZCTU commiserates with Masiyiwa over the bad treatment which he has continuously received from the state authorities on his ventures to establish his business, labour is concerned with his treatment of workers at the same business ventures. Masiyiwa’s businesses are characterised with alarming work deficits, depriving workers of their fundamental rights. The nature of contracts that these companies are dangling to employees smacks of cold-blooded capitalism. They have introduced precarious VOLUNTEER contracts, in clear disregard of the sanctity of work relations where they treat workers as ‘HELPERS’ instead of stakeholders in the employment relationship.
These companies, Steward Bank and Econet Wireless are leading the revolt against labour rights by refusing to pay compensation to workers who were dismissed following the infamous Zuva judgement. Econet is also challenging the retrospective application of Labour Amendment Number 5 which seeks among other provisions, to compensate the affected workers.
Workers’ freedoms are severely stifled at these establishments with unrelenting of dismissals to employees who join trade unions against the fundamental right to association and to freely organize and participate in trade unions. The ZCTU believes that Masiyiwa learnt nothing and forgot nothing from his 1990s ordeal at the hands of government and has continued to be selfish in pursuit of his own rights while trashing those of his employees. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are not inferior to the rights Masiyiwa is clamouring for and those which were affirmed to him by the Supreme Court leading to the establishment of ECONET.
While the ZCTU feels for Masiyiwa on the injustices that he is being subjected to we also ask him to take a deep introspection of his conduct of union busting, threats and dismissal of workers who attempt to organize and defend their rights and take corrective measures before seeking empathy and preaching the gospel which he does not practice.