HomeNewsSupreme Court reserves judgment in Zuva Petroleum labour matter

Supreme Court reserves judgment in Zuva Petroleum labour matter

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THE Supreme Court yesterday heard an appeal by two former managers at Zuva Petroleum (Private) Limited who took their former paymasters to court challenging termination of their employment contracts on notice.

by CHARLES LAITON

Don Nyamande and Kingston Donga accused the petroleum company of illegally terminating their contracts after taking over from BP Shell.

Through their lawyer Lovemore Madhuku, they argued that Section 12(4) of the Labour Act, does not grant an employer the right to terminate employment contracts on notice, but simply provides terms and conditions of provisions of notice.

However, Zuva Petroleum, though its lawyer advocate Thabani Mpofu who was assisted by advocate Nelson Chamisa said any contract of employment was just as good as any other contract and could therefore be terminated on notice.

“Fears raised by my learned friend (Madhuku) of employees being hired and fired willy-nilly by employers have not been substantiated.

“The issues raised by him are not worthy consideration because they do not consider the law,” Mpofu said.

“The contracts in this matter also enshrined the right to terminate employment contract on notice,” he added, but Madhuku dismissed the claims.

The court heard that the two managers were employed by BP Shell as supply and logistics managers respectively before the latter sold its entire shareholding to Zuva petroleum in 2010 which then engaged the two as managers

However, in 2011 Zuva Petroleum offered the two managers a voluntary retrenchment package, which the latter refused to accept prompting the firm to serve the duo with a compulsory notice of intention to retrench in December of the same year.

The court heard, the petroleum supplying firm later abandoned the retrenchment process and resolved to terminate the two managers’ employment contracts on notice, leading to the current legal fight.

The Supreme Court bench which comprised of Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, alongside Justices Paddington Garwe, Antonia Guvava, Elizabeth Gwaunza and Ben Hlatshwayo, reserved judgment in the matter.

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