‘Former RBZ workers wallow in poverty’

SOME 1 456 former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) workers are languishing in abject poverty as the central bank dillydallies on processing their retrenchment packages, the Labour Court heard as the case started in Harare yesterday.

Report by Phillip Chidavaenzi

Representing the ex-workers who were retrenched in 2011, Benjamin Magogo urged Labour Court President Godfrey Musariri to be firm with the RBZ.

“The respondents are in a dire situation and the court ought to stamp its authority. The respondents are unable to meet basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing. Pending the finalisation of this appeal, the appellant (RBZ) should pay school fees. The situation the applicants find themselves in would have been avoided if the appellant had been serious,” he said.

The court also heard that although the RBZ had drafted an agreement pledging to pay the retrenched employees in three instalments of $5 000 per employee starting in January 2011, it had only paid the first two. The last instalment was supposed to have been paid by June 30 2011.

However,Cathew Manyani, representing the central bank, said the arbitrator who handled the matter erred as his judgment appeared contradictory since it provided for immediate payout of packages on the one hand and negotiations on the other.

“The option of the immediate payment is an order incapable of being performed and the arbitrator ignored that the appellant is underfunded, so this is a self-contradictory order and the arbitrator knew it was not feasible,” he said.

He admitted that although the first two $5 000 payments were made, the final payment was not made in full, leading to the arbitration. The matter was postponed to next week.

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