Alpha Media Holdings, the publishers of Newsday, The Standard, Zimbabwe Independent and Heart and Soul is mulling sending its employees on forced leave due to its failure to come up with measures to protect them from COVID 19, a source has revealed to TechMagTV.
By Tongai Mwenje
According to the source, management were said to be preparing leave forms for employees who shall be working from home due to the ongoing pandemic.
Employees, through their workers committee, strongly objected to the move as they claimed that it is tantamount to forced leave.
Zimbabwe has so far officially recorded two COVID-19 patients with one Zororo Makamba succumbing to the deadly pandemic virus on Monday.
The government has put stringent conditions in a bid to fight the spread of the virus.
Public gatherings of more than 50 people have been banned, major local events have been put to on hold while schools and tertiary institutions have been instructed to close as preventative measures to curb the spread of COVID19.
The order by President Emmerson Mnangagwa also entails comprehensive restriction on movements and public gatherings nationwide including on religious, sports, social and cultural activities.
According to a leaked WhatsApp conversation, purported to be among the AMH employees, the Trevor Ncube owned company top management was dodging meetings with employees.
“Dear colleagues: the workers committee yesterday approached management for an urgent meeting to deal with health fears arising from COVID 19 and to look into our hardship allowances. We had requested the meeting for today but are yet to get a response from management and we will keep pressing.
“In the meantime, it has come to our attention the HR (Human Resources) are preparing leave forms for those who shall be working from home due to the ongoing pandemic, a position which we strongly object to as it is tantamount to forced leave.
“We would therefore like to put it on record that this is an illegality as leave is taken by consent. “We therefore advise anyone approached to sign leave forms not to do so.
“Advise whoever forces you to take leave that you will not sign until workers committee advises you to do the same.
“It is not illegal to refuse to sign leave forms as this is a health emegency.”
One of the employees, name supplied but withheld, urged fellow workmates not to sign the leave forms.
“Please note once u (you) sign leave forms workers committee will not be able to do anything to reverse it.”
There have been a mixed bag of reactions to the Corona Virus epindemic as it slowly spreads to parts of the country.
The Covid-19 causes virus is said to have originated in China in December last year.
The deadly virus has spread to other countries with Italy the most hard hit.
Most countries have gone on a lockdown while they find panecea to the pandemic.