Children, Spouses of Lobels ex workers Stage Demo
Bulawayo (New Ziana)-Scores of children and spouses of former Lobels Biscuits employees in Bulawayo held a demonstration at the company`s Belmont factory on Friday.
Lobels, a bread and confectionary company, last week sacked more than 400 workers for participating in demonstrations which it deemed illegal.
The workers had cited sexual harassment, nepotism, low wages, and unfair labour practises as some of the reasons they embarked on industrial action.
The workers were also baying for the head of the company`s chief operations officer Andrew Dinhidza whom they accused of violating their rights.
In response, the children and spouses of the sacked workers mobilised themselves and demonstrated at the company`s premises complaining about what they said was the unfair dismissal of their bread winners.
In an interview with New Ziana,one of the dismissed workers Jeremani Serephiya said; “The children are here just to tell the management that they have hit hard times following our dismissal. The children are no longer going to school because their parents cannot afford school fees, uniform, and food,” she said.
Serephiya added that efforts to engage management had been in vain.
“We have been interdicted by the High Court not to set foot at the company premises. We have been trying to seek audience with the management but by the look of things they are hostile and not interested in any engagement.
“We had a miserable festive season because we could not afford to buy our families some goodies. Some of the children narrated challenges they were now facing.
“These people should just understand that we are students. We are children and it really pains us that we cannot go to school because our parents were unlawfully dismissed.
“If the management fails to give us audience, then we are left with no choice but to write to President Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene in this situation,” said one form four student.
Workers said their problems started sometime last year when they reported the company to the Biscuits Manufactures Industry National Employment Council (NEC) for underpaying them.
They said the management was also angered by the workers decision to report Dinhidza and one of his cousins to the police for allegedly sexually abusing female workers at the company.
Former workers committee member Moses Matupise said their lawyers were also challenging the dismissal in court. “Our dismissal was clearly unlawful,” said Matupise.