AMH approaches court to block workers’ strike

Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) management has filed a Show Cause Order with the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare seeking permission to block its workers from embarking on industrial action.  

A Show Cause Order is a court order made upon the motion of an applicant that requires a party to appear and provide reasons why the court should not perform or not allow a particular action.

Last week workers at the publishing company, including journalists, gave their employer a 14-day notice to go on industrial action.

The workers want their salaries to be paid in United States Dollars.

AMH which publishes The Standard, The Zimbabwe Independent and NewsDay on August 27, 2020, applied for a show cause order to the Senior Labour officer in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare in accordance of Section 106 of the Labour Act.  

“The ZimInd publishers workers committee has threatened to embark on a collective job action on the 1st of September 2020. Our view is that the threatened collective job action is illegal,” stated the company in the application seen by CITE.

The Trevor Ncube owned Publishing house argues there was no deadlock that was declared at the workers’ council.

“No notice has been sent to the National Employment Councils. No attempt has been made to conciliate the dispute and certificate of no settlement has not been issued,” the company submitted in its application.

The company also further claimed that the majority of the employees did not endorse the pending industrial action because no secret voting was conducted.

“In the light of the above, we would like the workers’ committee to show cause why a disposal order declaring the intended meeting illegal must not be issued,” the application reads.

 The labour ministry is still yet to respond to the application.

 “The company is charging advertisements in foreign currency. We are saying journalists should also be paid in the same currency. The bond notes we earn are not buying anything. We cannot even afford to pay rent because landlords these days are demanding foreign currency,” said a journalist who refused to be named out of fear of victimisation.   

In a bid to placate the workers from embarking on the strike, the company last week reportedly gave each worker a token of US$30.

“Last week every worker was given US$30. We were told the money was just a gift from the company. We do not want any gifts from the company. We want our hard earned salaries in United States dollars. We cannot be bribed by mere US$30,” said the source.

Morale at the company is said to have hit rock bottom due to poor remuneration and other issues.

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