BULAWAYO, Friday, November 4, 1991 — Organised industry in Bulawayo — and throughout Rhodesia — finds itself without a joint policy on whether to work or rest on November 11. The day has been declared a bank holiday, but has not been declared an industrial holiday. Industrialists in Bulawayo say there has been no lead from ARnI or from the Ministry of Labour.
The absence of an official lead to industry has resulted in each Bulawayo factory making its own decision. Some are unable to carry the cost of both closing and paying workers. These working within the terms of special agreements for their particular industries, have held a ballot of workers on whether they (the workers) want November 11 as an unpaid holiday.
A vote of 75 percent is necessary before a factory can close and treat the day as an unpaid holiday. I gather that at some factories in the engineering sector, workers failed to poll a 75 percent vote, and at these factories November 11 will be a working holiday. Workers who stay away will be treated as absentees.
At other factories in this sector, the decision has been left to the workers. Managements will “wait and see” how many turn up to work. The workers have permission to take the day off, but will not be paid. Some factories have export deadlines and wish to treat the day as a full working day. They are still uncertain what they will do about it.
An inquiry showed that industrialists feel it should have been patent to ARnI and the Ministry that confusion would arise unless there was a directive “from the top”.
I gather those who feel it undesirable to close are hoping that this will not be interpreted as noncooperation with the national mood of prayer for thanksgiving.