Kombi workers unionise
COMMUTER omnibus drivers and conductors have applied to register their own trade union.
According to General Notice 69 of 2016 published in the Government Gazette of April 8, 2016, an application has been made to the registrar of labour in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare for the registration of the Zimbabwe Union of Drivers and Conductors.
The union seeks to champion the labour interests of workers in this sub-sector which has always been regarded as informal.
In the notice, registrar of labour, Grace Kanyayi, said interested parties in support or opposition of the application had 30 days within which to lodge their concerns.
The proposed union would represent an estimated 60 000 workers within this section of the transport sector operating on the country’s roads.
Commuter omnibuses have become one of the largest sources of employment in the informal sector.
Employers in the sector can currently hire and fire the workers at will.
The major areas of concern among workers in this sector include very high targets set by the kombi owners, the low commissions paid to the drivers and the conductors, as well as arbitrary wage deductions in cases where they get arrested and fined by police even for offenses related to defects on the omnibuses.
Last year, Ngoni Katsvairo, the secretary of the Greater Harare Association of Commuter Operators, told the Financial Gazette that there were over 60 000 omnibuses in Zimbabwe.
With each bus having two crew members, this would translate to about 120 000 workers, making it one of the biggest worker constituencies in Zimbabwe.
“At the moment there are over 60 000 omnibuses in Zimbabwe and each employs two people who have about four dependants each,” Katsvairo said then.
Follow us on Twitter on @FingazLive and on Facebook – The Financial Gazette