Mutare undergoing the training successfully.
Over 18 workers representatives, mainly trade unionists drawn from various food industries around the Eastern Region such as Mutare Bottling Company, Perfect Bakery, Tanganda Tea Company and Bakers Inn recently gathered at a local Hotel for the two days programme which was bankrolled by the Danish Trade Union Federation (3F).
Participants were taken through various fundamental topics which included: Meeting procedures, Guidance to effective participation in the works council, Trade Union Organisation, Grievance Handling, Duties of employees, Terms and conditions upon employment termination as well as the Roles and functions of Workers Committees.
FFAWUZ National Organiser, Runesu Dzimiri stated that the union aimed at empowering the workers committees so that they effectively take up an active stance in representing their fellow workers at shop floor level.
‘’As a union, we felt that it was paramount to capacitate these representatives so that they can effectively protect their rights and advance workers interests at the workplaces,’’ he said.
Dzimiri also explained the structure of FFAWUZ to the participants. He stated that FFAWUZ was formed in 1998 and had been the giant union dominating in the country’s food industry. He pointed out that FFAWUZ is a federation of food unions operating in the food industry.
The affiliates to the federation included: the Baking Industry Workers Union, Food Processing Workers Union, Soft Drinks Workers Union, Meat Fish and Poultry Workers Union and the Detergent Workers Union.
Co-facilitating at the training, the FFAWUZ Organiser for the bakery industry, Gift Mawoneka reiterated that formation of workers committees was a fundamental right of workers exercised without any interference by management.
‘’ Workers Committees are formed in terms of section 23 of the labour Act Chapter 28:01.Any employee of the company other than a managerial employees can be voted into the workers committees. Elections are held through a secret ballot and should be monitored by a labour Officer or a representative of the appropriate trade union. The employers’ role in this exercise is only limited in providing facilities for the elections,’’ he said.
Mawoneka explained that it was paramount for workers committees to cooperate with the trade union in ensuring that industrial agreement or industrial regulations such as CBAs’ for the industry are observed to the mutual benefit of all employees and management.
Discussing at the workshop, participants revealed that there was a need to reveal some of the companies’ codes of conducts to correspond with fair labour standards recommended by the constitution as well as the labour act citing that the ones in existence were outdated and biased against workers.
The participants expressed their gratitude to the union for affording them such training saying that they were empowered. They requested that the union should accord them such trainings at regular intervals to keep them connected.
‘’It was such an awakening exercise for us workers representatives and for most of us t is a new dawn on how we perceive labour issues,’’ said one of the participants, Prosper Kapeni in an interview soon after the workshop.