Home » Judicial » Airzim to Pay Fired Manager

Air Zimbabwe Private Limited will compensate a former manager it fired in 2013 after the Labour Court dismissed the airline’s appeal.

Labour Court judge Justice Lawrence Murasi, threw out Airzim’s case in which it sought to quash an arbitrator’s decision finding the airline guilty of unfairly dismissing Mr Moses Mapanda from work.

Justice Murasi agreed with the arbitrator that Airzim’s decision to unilaterally cut Mr Mapanda’s salary by 60 percent and to place him on forced leave left the employee with no other option, but to resign.

The resignation, the judge said, was not voluntary, but can safely be interpreted as constructive dismissal by the employer.

“The appellant (Air Zimbabwe) placed respondent (Mr Mapanda) on forced leave and proceeded to unilaterally reduce his salary by 60 percent.

“Appellant further stopped paying other remuneration as contracted, that is, fuel was no longer being provided and school fees were not paid.

“It is the court’s view that the appellant created an unbearable situation, which left respondent with no option but to tender his resignation.

“This amounted to constructive dismissal and that there was no misdirection on the part of the arbitrator,” ruled Justice Murasi.

To that end, the court found Airzim’s appeal to be devoid of merit before being dismissed with costs.

Mr Takudzwa Mafongoya of Matsikidze and Mucheche law firm represented Mr Mapanda, while Mutumbwa Mugabe and Partners acted for the airline.

Mr Mapanda was one of Airzim’s managers and he was sent on forced leave on April 2, 2013.

While on forced leave, Mr Mapanda had his salary cut by 60 percent and the company ceased providing him with his 350-litre monthly allocation of fuel.

The company also stopped paying school fees for Mr Mapanda’s children despite the forced leave condition that the man was still entitled to his full conditions of service and benefits.

The matter was taken for conciliation where the parties failed to agree, resulting in the same case being referred for arbitration.

The company argued that Mr Mapanda voluntarily resigned and that he was not entitled to any damages.

However, the arbitrator ruled in his favour, prompting Airzim to appeal to the Labour Court.

Source : The Herald