Zimbabwe’s largest dairy producer, Dairibord Zimbabwe, has been ordered to pay more than $82 000 to an aggrieved employee who left the company after serving 26 years.
An independent arbitrator Noah Ariel Mutongoreni ordered the company to pay $82 608,04 to Nelson Dzirutwe who was a Human Resources Officer at the time of his resignation, Dzirutwe was employed by Dairibord in 1984 and resigned last year.
At the time of his resignation he was human resources officer for Chipinge and Mutare Diaries.
Dzirutwe approached a labour officer and lodged a complaint of underpayment of salaries, nonpayment of productivity incentive for the second quarter of 2010 and alleged constructive dismissal.
Dzirutwe submitted that “during the period September 1999 to August 2010 he was underpaid as Human Resources Officer in that his salary was almost the same with that of his subordinates such as receptionist for Mutare and Chipinge respectively”.
Dzirutwe says his salary indicated that he was demoted, unaware as he was, being given a salary that of a human resources clerk and that during his term of office, he was subjected to numerous disciplinary hearings on allegations of poor performance yet no recommendation for trainings was made as required by the company’s code of conduct which therefore made him suffer illness.
“This, according to applicant, (Dzirutwe) led him to suffer emotionally and mentally through work-related stress, culminating in him suffering from stress related illness such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” the arbitrator stated.
Dzirutwe claimed back pay for the period between September 1999 and August 2010 and also annual bonus for the same period.
The total of his demands become $38 295. He also demanded incentive payment of $3 273 and damages for “constructive dismissal” amounting to $41 040. The sum total came to $82 608.
In his response the arbitrator said: “whilst the respondent (Dairibord) argued that his aggregate remuneration was $845, the tribunal was not furnished with documentary proof of what other human resources officers under respondent were earning.
“There was no evidence in the form of pay slips or even copies of their contracts showing what they were getting,” said Mutongoreni.
“Wherefore after hearing this case I make the following order, that the employee was underpaid and he must be paid a total of $38 295 as underpayment during the period 1999 to August 31 2010, that the employee was not paid productivity incentive for quarter two and three and hence must be paid the same totalling $3 273.04, that there was constructive dismissal when the employee tendered his resignation letter and he must be reinstated on his job without loss of salary and benefits and if reinstatement is no longer tenable he be paid damages amounting to $41 040.
“That in total he be paid $82 608,04.”
The arbitrator also ruled that Dzirutwe be allowed to purchase the vehicle he was using in terms of the company policy and that he be allowed to stay in the company house and, in the event that the employer found reinstatement no longer tenable, he only vacates the same after at least half of his benefits are paid,” said Mutongoreni.
Dairibord has since appealed against the award.