A hearing to resolve a 2009 retrenchment package feud between the Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway (BBR) company and 29 of its former employees has reportedly stalled after a file containing details of the case vanished at the Bulawayo High Court.
Two weeks ago, the workers’ union lawyer Vonani Majoko wrote to the assistant registrar of the High Court complaining over the missing court record.
“We represent the applicant (Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers’ Union) in this matter, who is obviously anxious to have the matter finalised taking into account the matter dates back from 2009,” Majoko said.
“Our Mr Nyabadza has been to your records office on several occasions with the intention of setting the matter down, but unfortunately these efforts have been in vain, the reason being the file cannot be located.
“May your good office kindly assist us in locating the said file and allocating a date for hearing.
“As it stands, we are at pains to explain to our clients why the matter cannot be heard,” wrote Majoko.
The two parties are fighting over a writ of execution worth $330 883,92 granted to the former workers by judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi in July last year.
But BBR contested the ruling and on September 15 last year, judge Justice Nicholas Ndou suspended the writ of execution pending a hearing on whether it should be set aside or brought into effect.
The wrangle between the two parties started in June 2009, when the company sent its workers on leave with full payment, awaiting a lawful retrenchment.
However, a month down the line the employer reneged on his earlier pledge, prompting the workers to refer the case to the courts.
The salary stoppage was nullified by a High Court Order, case number 1136/09.
But BBR allegedly defied the order and stopped paying workers in September of the same year and went on to hire new staff.
Eventually a writ of execution was issued against it and the Deputy Sheriff attached the company’s property on August 3 2009, but was stopped after BBR approached the court and got an interdict suspending the writ.
The matter has not been heard since then, prompting the latest push to have it finalised.