By Ricky Zililo
Highlanders’ players that embarked on a three-week strike between February and March have been summoned to a hearing by an ad hoc committee at the club offices at different times.
Bosso players went on strike in protest over delayed wages for January and February.
Only striker; Prince Dube, midfielder Mbekezeli Sibanda, national Under-20 captain Andrew Mbeba, central defender Vincent Moyo and striker Russell Chifura heeded the club’s initial plea to end the strike.
Winger, Cleopas Kapupurika, defender Bukhosi Ncube, utility player Charlton Siamalonga and goalkeeper Wellington Muuya also returned to training in the second week of the strike, leaving the bulk of the first team players on industrial action.
Highlanders’ players yesterday confirmed receiving summons to appear for a hearing.
“We are going to be appearing for a hearing. They’ve called us one by one and what is surprising is that the chairman (Kenneth Mhlophe) promised that there would not be any witch-hunt after the strike.
“Despite being summoned, the guys are working hard, getting ready for the first game of the season, but are a bit confused about this hearing. What the guys fear is that maybe the club will deduct money from our March salaries for the days we missed training because of the strike,” said a concerned player.
Mhlophe is on record as dismissing social media reports that the club was planning a “witch-hunt”, which he described as “nonsensical” saying they were “mutually” handling the strike matter with the players.
Mhlophe could not be reached for comment as he is attending to the Warriors’ business as part of the Zifa competitions committee that was responsible for organising the Warriors vs Congo Afcon qualifier, which Zimbabwe won 2-0 on Sunday.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer, Nhlanhla Dube, was also unavailable for comment yesterday as he was reportedly attending meetings.
An official within Bosso said the “hearing is not a sentence, but an opportunity to clear circumstances and look into the matter that led to those unfortunate events. What this interaction with players individually is meant to do is to educate them on labour issues that govern employer and employee relations. For instance, the issue of giving notice before going on strike, which the players overlooked”.
“Understand that Highlanders is a brand and if something of that nature happens, it will be irresponsible for the club not to address it in a professional way so that the club doesn’t face similar action. The players need to know what channels to follow if they have grievances and exhaust those channels. It’s not about victimisation at all; we’re just dealing with our in-house matters,” said the official.
The hearing comes at a time Bosso players are focusing on the start of the 2019 season with their opener being an away clash against Black Rhinos this weekend.
Bosso will play a blockbuster match against Caps United at Barbourfields Stadium in the second week. The Chronicle