Embattled Chitungwiza Municipality is set to lose property worth more than $1,4 million following a court order granted in favour of 10 employees who sued the local authority for their incentive allowances deducted 19 years ago.
The lawyers representing the workers have since forwarded a writ of execution to the Deputy Sheriff for attachment of property at its Tilcor Road offices in Chitungwiza where council property is believed to be located.
The former Chitungwiza employees who were represented by Harare lawyer Arthur Marara took the council to the Ministry of Labour sometime in April last year after the council failed to pay their back-pay according to a certificate of settlement issued and agreed upon in January the same year.
The fight between the municipality and the workers is said to have started in June 1992 when council deducted 10% of the incentive allowance without consulting the employees.
The employees are said to have asked their employer the reason for the unauthorised deduction and were told it
was replaced by a 20% retention allowance, which the workers were not happy with.
This prompted the workers to seek redress from the Ministry of Labour after consulting the Ombudsman’s Office from which conciliation was called and a certificate of settlement issued and agreed on January 27 last year.
Despite both parties signing a binding contract, the municipality is said to have breached the contract by not remitting the back-pay to the workers and the matter was referred to an arbitrator, Christopher Mesikano, in May last year.
“Since the employer breached and contravened the legally binding certificate of settlement terms of period of payment of back-pay on February 2010, I hereby order the employer to immediately pay the said back-pay in a single settlement within seven days of receiving this award and calculated, verified tabulation of 10 affected employees,” Mesikano awarded.
The affected employees are: Simon Nyengerai, Isdore Gutu, Phanuel Toro, Paul Gatsi, Emmanuel Mare, Wonderful Manduna, Nelson Nengomasha, S C Machingura, Ngoni Mutemeri and Godwin Gwaze.
These employees are expected to be paid amounts ranging from $39 000 to
$211 000 respectively, following the registration of the arbitral award at the High Court by Justice November Mtshiya two weeks ago.
The municipality was also ordered to pay costs of the suit.