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» » ZimJustice bolsters legal team to help workers

 ZimJustice programmes director, Tendai Mbofana​

BY OUR CORRESPONDENT
The Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZimJustice) has expanded its legal team, in a drive to increase capacity to offer free legal services to unfairly treated workers.
This was necessitated by the need to assist more workers than what the network had already been offering, an official said.
Additionally, the expansion in the legal team would result in cases brought to the network been handled faster.
ZimJustice had, of late, been overwhelmed by the large number of cases that unfairly treated workers had been bringing forward.
ZimJustice programmes director, Tendai Mbofana said this led to a compassionate appeal for more lawyers to volunteer their expertise for this worthy cause - resulting in a positive response.
"ZimJustice still requests for more volunteer lawyers from outside the capital Harare, so as to enable unfairly treated workers from across the country to have easier access to free legal services.
"As Zimbabwe continues in an economic downward spiral, a disturbingly increasing number of workers find themselves receiving the short end of the stick from their employers - resulting in most of them living on the fringes of abject poverty," he said.
Most workers are failing to provide the very basic necessities for their families, due to their employers' unwillingness to pay them their dues.
Thousands of Zimbabwean workers have not been paid their salaries for months - if not years - whilst, at the same time expected to regularly report for duty.
Employers have dismissed thousands more, most of the time with scant regard for the law, yet, without paying such employees their terminal benefits.
"To add insult to injury, numerous employers had been - and still are - deducting money from their employees' salaries ostensibly for pensions and other funds - yet, reports reaching ZimJustice from these fund managers suggest that these employers never remitted the money," said Mbofana.
A number of senior managers, at most companies that were apparently shutdown due to financial challenges, are receiving hefty salaries, whilst dismissed workers are left out in the cold.
 "Employers' miserly tendencies of hiding behind the prevailing economic meltdown in Zimbabwe hardly holds water any longer, as most of them still manage to live lavish lifestyles, at the expense of the very people who made that money for them," ZimJustice programmes director said.
ZimJustice will ensure that cases are not only brought before the courts, through their legal team, but as social justice activists - who include investigative journalists - will strive to expose the shenanigans occurring in these companies that are resulting in the unfair treatment of workers.
ZimJustice has been involved in lobbying the International Labour Organisation (ILO), as well as other institutions as the Kimberly Process, against several companies that have abused their employees, or disregarded international and national statutes. LOCAL

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