The labour dispute between Outward Bound board of trustees and staff continues to escalate following the retrenchment of workers.

Outward Bound Zimbabwe retrenched all its workers in Chimanimani this February giving the employees a notice period of less than 24 hours resulting in an outcry over the unexpected move.

The company’s executive director Douglas Winterbottom said the excuses that the organisation is retrenching because of losses is not true as he handles all accounts books for the Chimanimani branch.

“I was forced to be hostile to workers but I refused. There is need to have a board of directors that is multi-racial, multi-skilled and professional to effectively run the institution. Due to the current composition, issues of racial segregation are a reality,” he said.

Commenting on the same issue, Acting Chimanimani District Administrator Lloyd Kasima said the move by Outward Bound to retrench all workers without giving valid reasons is disturbing, stating that efforts to engage the board of trustees over the issue is failing to yield positive results.

“There is now a war between the board and workers that needs to be handled carefully. There is suspicion from society on why there is a 100 percent retrenchment yet the company is not closing,” he said. 

In a statement, the chairperson of Outward Bound Zimbabwe Jan Hart said the move to retrench is to ensure compliance with all conditions of the international licence which was issued by the company to all its centres globally.

Outward Bound offers a range of adventure courses that include rock climbing, traversing rivers and navigation among other activities.

The institution is a private voluntary organisation whose focus is not to make profit.