Zesa employees barred from striking

THE Energy Sector Workers’ Union’s planned demonstration against Zesa’s refusal to implement a 2012 collective bargaining agreement went up in smoke on Tuesday this week, after High Court judge Justice Happias Zhou declared the intended collective job action illegal.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The judgment by Justice Zhou followed an urgent chamber application filed by Zesa in December last year seeking an interdict against its workers’ union’s intention to strike.

“In response to the threatened demonstration, the applicant (Zesa Holdings) instituted proceedings for a show cause order and the proceedings are still pending. The respondent (Energy Sector Workers’ Union) has expressed its intention to proceed with the demonstration notwithstanding the pending show cause proceedings. That is what triggered the instant application,” Justice Zhou said.

In its application, Zesa had told the judge that the union communicated its intention in a letter dated December 8, 2017 addressed to the Officer Commanding Zimbabwe Republic Police, Harare Central District, despite a pending application for a show cause order.

In his judgment, however, Justice Zhou said it was clear from the law that Zesa employees are not permitted to embark on collective job action because of the nature of their institution.

“The unfaithfulness of the intended collective job action arises from two situations. Firstly, the employees of the applicant are engaged in essential services and are prohibited by law from engaging in or recommending collective job action, see section 104 (3), of the Labour Act and section 2 (g) of the Labour Declaration of the Essential Services Notice, 2003,” Justice Zhou said.

“Secondly, the respondent and its members have not followed the procedures set out in section 104 (2) of the Labour Act before resorting to collective job action to resolve their dispute with the employer. The failure to comply with the mandatory requirements of that section renders the collective job action unlawful.”

Justice Zhou further said there could be no question that a demonstration held in the context of an employer/employee relationship was an industrial action.

“The collective energies of the participants are being summoned to action. The demonstration in casu (in this case) is directed at the applicant in its capacity as the employer of the respondent’s members,” he said.

According to the court papers, sometime last year, the employees’ union wrote a letter of demand to Zesa’s chief executive officer complaining that “no serious efforts has been made by the employer to attend to our demands” and one of the issues raised was the alleged refusal by Zesa to implement a 2012 collective bargaining agreement.


“The balance of convenience favours the granting of the interim relief. No prejudice would be suffered by the respondents if the interdict is granted even if the application for show cause order fails…, I do not believe there is an alternative remedy which would achieve the same result as the interdict being sought in the present case,” Justice Zhou said, adding: “An instruction to the employees not to participate in the collective job action would not have the same effect as the relief being sought in casu.”

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6 Comments

  1. going through the list of their demands there are very mischevious and instead there should first of all make noise for the funds which were stolen from zpc through a dubious solar company to be returned and that would receive sympathy from outside observers before deciding to embark on this crippling strike which will plunge the country into darkness.

    1. All what was written in the Herald about Zesa salaries and demands were naked lies just to protect Zesa Management who some of them earn up to $67 000 a month. Why is it that salaries for top management in Zesa is not made public ? There is no such kind of salaries earned by Zesa employees, why do newspapers write stories in their offices and not go to any one Zesa employ and ask what he earns ?

  2. this is an old article for events of last year which where override by the appeal at supreme court

  3. These employees are driven by self interest (greediness). Their demands are ridiculous considering that ZESA is failing to provide a service to the nation because of Cashflow problems. The nation cannot be expected to fund for the lavish lifestyles that these employees are demanding. ZESA should conduct a cost rationalisation exercise instead of adjusting (increasing) the already high wage bill. Management should rationalise their salaries and perks as well. This ZESA workers Union is out of touch with reality, Thomas Masvingwe should wake up and smell the coffee.

  4. All what is being written in the newspapers about a lowest Zesa employ earning $940 are just naked lies but instead Zesa management earn as much as $ 57 000 a month and they just want to divert attention from the real truth. There is no longer A1 grade in Zesa all Grades now begin at B1 and the lowest paid does not even earn anything nearer to $940 as was in the newspapers. That story was one sided and no one from the newspapers bothered to get the true story from the three Zesa Unions that represent the workers. Let us not have thornbush mentality of being jealous because of different incomes that we earn, that is the reason why we choose different trades.

  5. This is what we have been getting from the herald and these other state newspapers, lies, lies, lies, and lies. For starters, there is nothing called A1:1 anymore within ZESA. The lowest grade does not even earn the $940 written in the lying Herald. D2 salary is nowhere $4900 written in the newspaper. It is clear the Herald wants the public to label ZESA employees greedy which is very unfortunate. ZESA Holdings, Chifamba rather, should just learn to respect CBA outcomes and implement. Employees are fighting for what rightfully belongs to them. There is a statutory instrument to that effect.
    The Herald has shown once again how stupid they are. Even the editor in his editorial comment the following day was talking like someone who has proof and evidence of what ZESA employees earn. A good editor to me would have verified the facts first before acting like a fool in the public.

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