power equipment

Despite the National Energy Workers Union of Zimbabwe’s (NEWUZ) secretary general, Thomas Masvingwe, having confirmed that the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) is planning to lay off some employees, the power utility’s spokesperson has confirmed this as untrue.

According to the Financial Gazette, in 2016 employees at ZESA said the entity initiated a restructuring exercise, which has rendered a number of posts redundant.

The positions that will be affected by this exercise should it come to pass, include 1,700 artisan assistants, drivers and lead artisans.

Masvingwe said artisan assistants have been reduced from a ratio of two to one to the current one to one per every artisan.

He said intensive efforts have been made to engage ZESA on the matter since last year, but no meaningful progress had been made, media reported.

Since then NEWUZ has wrote to the designated agent of the Energy National Employment Council to register displeasure over the exercise.

In their submissions, the workers allege that on 26 June 2016, the power utility wrote to them advising that no such exercise was going on and if they should adopt a restructuring exercise, it would do so in consultation with the employees and their representatives.

ZESA comments

The power company’s public relations manager, Fullard Gwasira said that the company was not aware of the developments. Read more…

“The ZESA group is not embarking on a retrenchment exercise at the moment, and has not given any such notice as is required by the Labour Relations Act.

“The Labour Act clearly emphasises the need to consult staff before any retrenchment exercise is embarked on. As part of the process to align staff structures to the prevailing business model, the company regularly examines its manpower charts. This process identifies areas of over and under staffing.”

Gwasira continued: “The company then subsequently aligns its staffing to the business strategy. This process may entail moving staff to new areas which would have been identified. For example, the advent of prepaid meters has negated the meter-reading function, and staff in these portfolios is being redeployed in line with the current strategy.”

Limited redeployment

Media further quoted Masvingwe stating that there is no room for redeployment because the new organisational charts do not contain new posts.

“In this instance, some posts have totally been rendered redundant and the few remaining have been trimmed implying that the organisation now needs fewer people than before,” he said.

“Further, a copy of the internal correspondence memo in our possession dated April 3, 2017 undersigned by ZETDC managing director, Julian Chinembiri, confirms that the restructuring exercise is on course,” he said. Read more…

The memo from the ZETDC said: “The exercise was done to respond to the needs of the current business environment. It was important to review the organisational charts following the introduction of prepayment meters, planned automation of processes, creation of new customer services sections and observation that the 2006 charts were redundant in some instances.

“To that end, employees are to be aligned to the new charts by May 31 2017. Consultations will be done and the whole process shall be managed in a transparent manner with minimum anxiety to staff. It is hoped that the exercise shall be viewed positively for the benefit of both employees and ZETDC business.”