Telecoms Workers Form New Union

A BREAKWAY trade union for telecommunications workers has applied for registration with the acting registrar of labour, a development likely to divide sector workers.
In a notice in the Government Gazette last week, the acting registrar of labour said he had received an application for the registration of a trade union called the Information, Communication Technology and Allied Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ICTAWUZ).
The new union, the registrar said, would represent “the interests of non-managerial employees in the information communication and technology industry in Zimbabwe”.
“It is hereby notified, in terms of section 33 of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) that an application has been received for the registration of Information Communication Technology and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe as a trade union to represent the interests of non-managerial employees in the information communication and technology industry in Zimbabwe,” reads part of the notice published in the Government Gazette.
Already, workers in the sector are represented by the Communications and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CASWUZ), formerly the Zimbabwe Post and Telecommunications Workers Union (ZPTWU).
CASWUZ was formed in 1970 with the assistance of the Postal, Telegraph and Telephone International, and was then known as the Rhodesia Posts and Telecommunications Workers Union.
It operated as an unregistered union due to colonial regulations at the time, as the Industrial Conciliation Act, barred all black-led trade unions from operating in the country.
During the period 1978-1980, due to some misunderstandings, the union split into two factions.
However, the two formations merged at a congress held in Harare in 1983 to form ZPTWU.
Following the unbundling of the Posts and Telecommunications Corporation in 2000, the union changed its name to CASWUZ to enable it to organise in other industries and companies.
Power struggles were later to emerge at CASWUZ, leading to the sacking of Matombo from the helm of the union after a vote of no confidence in January this year.
The Financial Gazette could not immediately establish if Matombo had any role in the formation of the new trade union as he declined to comment saying he would not speak to this newspaper.
Matombo was booted out of CASWUZ after refusing to step down as president despite attaining 65 years, the stipulated retirement age.
He then approached the High Court in a bid to overturn his expulsion from CASWUZ, where he was also accused of abusing his office by making unilateral appointments as well as misusing the union’s funds.
CASWUZ’s members held a special congress in April last year and elected Taurai Mereki and 11 others into the union’s interim leadership.
But Matombo  remained in office, challenging the procedures taken to boot him out.
Former CASWUZ general-secretary, Christopher Chizura, who was also booted out alongside Matombo, approached the courts in a bid to nullify the vote of no confidence passed on Matombo and himself.

He is also challenging the outcome of the union’s special congress. Financial Gazette

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