Zimra loses $500 000 labour appeal

THE Labour Court has dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) challenging an arbitration order compelling it to pay out almost $500 000 to its five former customs managers who were unlawfully dismissed during a restructuring exercise five years ago.

BY SENIOR COURT REPORTER

Zimra’s fall-out with the managers came about after the former unilaterally altered the employees’ contracts which the latter challenged, prompting their dismissal.

The Zimra saga started in February 2007 when the parastatal engaged in a restructuring exercise which resulted in the five ex-customs officials’ contracts being terminated and reconstituted into three-year contracts.

In her judgment delivered in August this year, Labour Court president Loice Matanda-Moyo said Zimra’s argument in refusing to compensate the sacked managers lacked merit.

“An employer has no right to act in the manner it did. Such variations could only be done with the employees’ consent. It is common cause there was no consent from the employees            . . . The arbitrator’s reasoning cannot be said to be grossly unreasonable warranting interference by this court. Accordingly the appeal lacks merit and is hereby dismissed,” Matanda-Moyo said.

In 2010, Zimra was ordered to pay $498 749 to Elisha Tshuma, Sifelani Nhliziyo, Khaulelo Mawana, Austin Wamedza and Petros Shayanewako.

The order was made by an arbitrator Lawrence Gabilo, who said the damages assessed were to be paid in two instalments commencing November 12 and December 12 2010, respectively.

Last year, Gabilo established the quantification of damages instructing Zimra to either reinstate the fired managers or pay them damages in lieu of reinstatement.

Zimra, however, failed to comply with the order and appealed against Gabilo’s award, but the appeal was again dismissed by Labour Court president Betty Chidziva on the basis the parastatal had approached the courts “with dirty hands” after failing to comply with the initial order.

Following Chidziva’s judgment, parties went for quantification of damages, but Zimra reapplied for stay of execution pending another appeal hearing which was eventually dismissed by Matanda-Moyo in August.

9 Comments

  1. ZVARWADZAKA ZIMRA?

  2. wattsopeter@rocketmail.com

    ngaibhadare zimra kwete udzvanyiriri.

  3. kugocha kunoda kwamai kwemwana kunodzima moto.

  4. anyone is a victim………. kusangobatwawo nemhosva chete…………. musatonga kuti musatongwawo.

  5. ZIMRA imposes unilateral fines on defaulting companies so they thought they could do the same to their employees.

  6. Zvaiwana Ngwarati

    Zimra has lost almost every case and check how much the parastatal has lost in reinstatements (ie paying someone who would have been idle for 2 or so years) or damages and yet they do not learn. As we speak there are several nonsensical cases of suspended employees which are pending finalisation. One example is that which we read in newspapers where the entire workers committee executive has been suspended on allegations of “circulating pornographic material”.

  7. its so funny yet an insult to to us HR Professionals. even the most junior HR Clerk or even Attachee could have advised that contracts are not to be unilaterally altered, let alone decide to dismiss employees for refusing the altered conditions. moreso considering the level of employees in question. ZVINONYADZISA IZVI. Tipei basa racho tikuitirei hahahahaha

    1. Zvaiwana Ngwarati

      Zvimwe zvinoitwa nokuti mari dzacho dzinozonzi dzibhadhare vashandi vanenge vadzoserwa kumabasa hadzibvi muhomwe yemunhu. Kungomora muhomwe yeZimra (tax payer’s money) uye hakuna anombozvitarisa kuti pane akoniwa basa. Maybe its a way of enriching their relatives by feining dismisal of an employees so that in the end that employee wins the case and go home smiling with a back dated lump sum and damages. Like I said check how many cases they have lost and how many are lined up (pending finalisation) and consider the merits of the cases. Why is it nothing is being said about it? Where is the Zimra board? Can Zimra afford to lose cases at this rate without impunity?

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