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Strife rises in Bakers Inn oven

Africa Moyo Business Reporter
DISGRUNTLED Bakers Inn employees have petitioned Government and Innscor Africa Limited’s management over allegations of unfair labour practices at the firm.

Bakers Inn, a unit of listed industrial conglomerate Innscor Africa, has reportedly dismissed over 100 workers in the last 12 months.

It is alleged the bread-making company has been arbitrarily retrenching employees in direct contravention of the Sections 12D(2) and 25A(5) of the Labour Act.

In essence, the Labour Act stipulates that an employer should exhaust all avenues of saving jobs before resorting to retrenchments.

United Food and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Ufawuz) legal officer Mr Edgar Rusere told The Sunday Mail Business that Bakers Inn was “refusing to follow the law, trying to take advantage of the wheels of justice which turn slowly due to congestion at the courts”.

The Sunday Mail Business could not obtain a comment from Bakers Inn MD Mr Ngoni Mazango last week.

However, Mr Rusere alleged, “Within a year, Bakers Inn has again engaged in the same illegal act of circumventing the law pretending to be blind to Section 12D(2) paragraphs (a) and (b).”

Section 12D (2) of the Labour Act says” . . . before giving notice of the intention to retrench any employees in terms of this section 12 C, an employer may agree with the employees concerned, or with any workers committee, works council or employment council which represents the employees, to have recourse to either or both of the following measures for a period not exceeding twelve months — (a) . . . placing the employees on short-time work or (b) instituting a system of shifts a provided in subsection 5”.

The dismissals have affected merchandisers, drivers, and workshop and security staff the most.

It is claimed that in all instances where workers were sacked, Bakers Inn would immediately outsource labour to replace them.

On Wednesday, former employees picketed Bakers Inn’s head offices in Graniteside, Harare threatening to strike if retrenchments were not stopped immediately, and if all workers dismissed since 2016 were not rehired.

“We will also call for an effective boycott of all your products until our just demands are met,” read part of their petition delivered to the Bakers Inn head office and copied to Labour Minister Prisca Mupfumira.

The Baking Industrial Workers Union, an Ufawuz affiliate, organised the demonstration.

The petition also says: “We note with dismay that since 2016, you have embarked on a process of retrenching workers ostensibly for business restructuring purposes. To our utter dismay, you have been retrenching for the purposes of outsourcing labour. You started off by retrenching drivers, and workshop (whole department) in 2016.

“You did the same with (47) merchandisers and the matter is currently before the Constitutional Court . . . you are doing the same with the security department.”

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