Thirteen lecturers dismissed unlawfully from Solusi University in 2008 this week appealed to President Robert Mugabe to intervene in the matter in which the college is allegedly refusing to pay them $15 million in damages.
The letter, a copy of which is in NewsDay’s possession, was copied to top government officials and the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
“Your Excellency Sir, the facts of the matter are known to your Office as we have approached you before. In 2006, we sought audience with university authorities to improve our working conditions.
“Attempts to have an audience with the authorities to solve our problems failed and we went on a legal collective job action as provided for by the laws of Zimbabwe at the expiry of the 14 days’ notice,” the letter reads.
The lecturers said they stopped conducting lectures and the college allegedly sought audience with the ministry of labour to declare the strike illegal but it was denied.
“The Ministry of Labour issued a certificate of no settlement and we were both compelled to a compulsory arbitration before Butshe Dube,” the lecturers said.
The college allegedly went ahead and conducted a disciplinary hearing where the lecturers were denied legal representation.
“We returned to work as per the Labour Act but only to be suspended and dismissed before the arbitrator could hear the case. The kangaroo court that they had instituted did not conform to the laws of this country,” they said.
“Your Excellency Sir, in 2007, we appealed to the Labour Court but the university forged the charter, something you would not expect from church leaders running a Christian university.
Their actions were consistent with hard-core mafia gangs,” the lecturers wrote.
Justice Moya Matshanga upheld the lecturers’ appeal and ordered the college to reinstate them without loss of salary and benefits.
He ruled that if reinstatement was no longer an option, the university would have to pay the lecturers damages.
However, the college opted for damages and requested the lecturers to prepare the quantum on June 2, 2008.
“Your Excellency Sir, in response to their letter to prepare quantum of our damages, on June 2 2008, we prepared a claim totalling $15 million,” the lecturers said.
“Your Excellency Sir, the list of what we have lost in terms of the global church based in the United States of America conditions of service runs into millions of dollars for each individual,” they said.
The lecturers said since 2008, the university had been filing several applications before the courts in an effort to renege on payment of the damages, resulting in the suffering of their families.
“Your Excellency Sir, the university has applied to the Labour Court seeking an extension so they can file leave of appeal. It is very clear that the conduct of the university and its legal team are abusing the court process.
“They are deliberately torturing us while not respecting the laws you signed. You are the only one who can protect us from abuse by the university’s leadership,” the lecturers appealed.