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Telecel not yet off the hook in $2,8m litigation

AT least 43 former Telecel Zimbabwe employees, who filed a $2,8 million lawsuit against the mobile network provider following termination of their employment contracts on notice in July 2015, have once again approached the High Court seeking reinstatement of their matter after it was struck off the roll in October last year.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The 43 ex-workers initially petitioned the High Court in 2016 demanding compensation and accusing their former paymaster of unlawful dismissal.

However, after both parties appeared for a pre-trial before a full hearing, the matter was subsequently removed from the roll in October last year and since then, nothing materialised, prompting the employees to approach the High Court Registrar, seeking re-instatement of the matter.

Through their legal practitioners, Lovemore Madhuku Lawyers, the employees, in a letter dated September 17, 2018, wrote to the Registrar raising their concerns over the uncompleted litigation.

“The matter was removed from the roll on October 18, 2017. On January 16, 2018, we wrote to you requesting that the matter be re-enrolled … the matter has still not been set down. Instead, we are receiving documents from your office suggesting that nothing has happened since October 18, 2017. May the matter, please, be set down for trial as per our papers filed on January 16, 2018,” the lawyers said.

According to the court papers, the fired employees and the mobile network provider entered into an employment contract in terms of which the workers provided personal services to the company in different capacities.

The workers said in terms of section 12(4a) of the Labour Act, “no employer shall terminate a contract of employment on notice except in the circumstances specified in the said section.

“Notwithstanding the provisions of section 12(4a) of the Labour Act, the defendant (Telecel) terminated each of the plaintiff’s contracts of employment merely by giving notice and without complying with any of the circumstances specified in the said section 12(4a).

“The defendant’s non-compliance with section 12(4a) in terminating each of the plaintiff’s contract of employment was an unlawful act. The damages due to each plaintiff have been measured on the basis that it would take each plaintiff a minimum period of 36 months from the date of the unlawful termination to get alternative employment.”

In its plea, however, Telecel denied having acted unlawfully as alleged and challenged the former workers to prove their case.

In its summary of evidence, Telecel said at the time of the termination of the employees employment contracts on notice, such termination was lawful and in line with the common law.

Source :

NewsDay

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