via ZLHR seeks to overturn police ban of workers protests | The Zimbabwean 1 August 2014
LAWYERS from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Wednesday 30 July 2014 petitioned the High Court seeking an order to interdict the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) from banning demonstrations planned by some disgruntled National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) employees against non-payment of their salaries.
The ZRP early this month banned NRZ employees affiliated to the Zimbabwe Railway Artisans Union, the Railway Association of Engineman and the Railway Association of Yard Operating Staff from staging protests on Saturday 02 August 2014 in Bulawayo, Harare, Gweru and Mutare to demand the payment of their salaries from the NRZ.
The police ban came after the Zimbabwe Railway Artisans Union, the Railway Association of Engineman and the Railway Association of Yard Operating Staff had early this month notified the ZRP that its members who are employed by the state-run NRZ would roll out demonstrations on Saturday 2 August 2014, protesting against non-payment of their salaries and other challenges they are currently grappling with as railway employees.
The labour unions had requested the ZRP to provide escort and other assistance during the two-hour protest.
But the ZRP on Tuesday 22 July 2014 banned the workers’ unions from staging the demonstration.
In several letters written to the labour unions, the ZRP cited several flimsy reasons for banning the demonstrations such as manpower shortages, fear that hooligans might hijack the protest, apprehension that members of the public and property might be harmed and destroyed and the need to engage the NRZ management.
But in the urgent chamber application, the labour unions’ lawyer Kennedy Masiye and Nosimilo Chanayiwa of ZLHR wants the High Court to issue an order allowing the workers to go ahead with the scheduled demonstrations and promote their rights to freedom of assembly and association together with exercising their right to demonstrate and petition as provided for in Section 58 and 59 of the Constitution.
The lawyers said in the event that the application is heard and an order granted in the labour unions’ favour after 2 August 2014 they should be allowed to proceed with the demonstration to be rescheduled on another future date without notification to the ZRP.