Zipam property faces hammer over ex-workers benefits

The Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management (Zipam) is set to lose property worth nearly
$300 000 after the institution’s 21 ex-employees obtained a writ of execution following a successful registration of their arbitral award.

BY CHARLES LAITON

The former employees are part of a group of the 35 Zipam workers, whose employment contracts were terminated by the institution following a Supreme Court ruling in July 2015, giving employers the right to terminate contracts on a three months’ notice.

Through their lawyers Chambati, Mataka and Makonese Attorneys at Law, the ex-workers approached the Labour Court seeking compensation and a ruling was made in their favour in February last year, but the latter’s reluctance to timeously comply eventually compelled the workers to register the award with a view to attach property for execution.

In a letter dated February 9, 2018 addressed to Zipam’s lawyers Kantor and Immerman by the ex-workers lawyers, Zipam was given an ultimatum to pay the money or risk losing its property.

“We confirm that the writ of execution and the court order have since been issued and attached hereto is the same. As agreed, your client is to make payment of the balance due to our clients into our trust account on or before February 23, 2018. We, therefore, trust your client will proceed to make the payment as per its undertaking to avoid the inconveniences associated with sheriff’s execution,” the lawyers said.
In response to the employees’ letter, Zipam’s lawyers promised to fulfil the parties’ agreement, urging the former workers to halt the execution until the agreed date.

“. . . find attached hereto a schedule received from our client, which reflects the amounts owing to your clients. As soon as the funds to pay your clients have been received, our client shall fulfil its indebtedness to your clients in full. In the circumstances, we trust that you will not proceed with execution until after the date agreed to by the parties,” Kantor and Immerman said.

Sometime in February last year, the ex-workers also approached the High Court seeking an interdict against Zipam after the institution threatened to evict them from their homes without paying their terminal benefits.

But they vowed to stay put at the company’s premises, saying they would only leave if their benefits were paid.

However, in a new development to the matter, Zipam is alleged to have engaged 20 employees, replacing those that were fired, a move that was also described by the fired workers as an unfair labour practice.

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