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Workers get Z$360 billion severance packages


GWERU — Six former employees of a catering firm are reportedly in a dilemma after the Labour Court recently ordered their severance packages be paid out in the redundant Zimbabwe dollars, the legal tender when the matter went to court six years ago.

The Zimbabwe dollar went out of circulation in 2009 and was replaced by a multi-currency system.

Last month, Gweru Labour Court judge Justice Maxwell Takuva ordered the firm, Brytheville Investments, to pay Z$360 billion severance packages to its former employees after the two parties failed to agree on an exchange rate to be applied after converting their benefits to United States dollars.

Takuva ruled that Barberfield Chakwamura and five others be paid amounts ranging between Z$45 billion and Z$65 billion or alternatively the parties resume negotiations for an acceptable exchange rate.

The six-year labour dispute intensified in 2010 when the firm agreed to pay the packages in the currency obtaining at the time of its closure, the Zimbabwe dollar.

After they reached a deadlock, the company suggested an expert be engaged to compute the amounts due in US currency using what was referred to as the “blended rate” of exchange used at the height of the country’s economic meltdown in 2008.

This was done in February 2010, but the dispute continued after it emerged the workers would receive packages ranging between $26 and $85.

The workers and company representatives were still locked in negotiations over the matter yesterday.

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