Home » General » Court Reserves Judgment in ZACC Labour Dispute

The Labour Court has reserved judgment in a case in which the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission is contesting an arbitral award compelling it to pay its 26 investigators and intelligence officers outstanding allowances and benefits amounting to $1,5 million.

Justices Lilian Kudya and Lawrence Murasi heard arguments from both parties and reserved judgement indefinitely.

Last year, the Supreme Court remitted the appeal back to the Labour Court for the specialised court to determine the case on the merits.

This was after Aocate Thabani Mpofu, on behalf of the commission, argued that the Labour Court wrongly dismissed ZACC’s appeal on a technicality.

According to court documents, the contract signed by the employees was such that they were entitled to a housing allowance, transport allowance, cellphone allowance, and provision of motor vehicles to officers without vehicles, a 13th cheque, anti-corruption allowance, group life cover, medical aid, risk allowance, education and school fees allowance.

In March 2013, arbitrator Mr Rodgers Matsikidze ruled in favour of the employees and awarded each of them various amounts of between $53 000 and $61 000.

He said the commission’s human resources section was in shambles and that it was unfairly treating the workers.

In the award, Mr Matsikidze urged the commission to take care of the staff, saying poor conditions and salaries might tempt them to engage in corrupt activities.

In the appeal, A Mpofu argued that the workers were failing to understand the conditions of their employment.

“They were employed in terms of an interim arrangement and the understanding was that the employer would come up with conditions of employment under Section 14 of the Act,” he said.

“When the employer came up with the conditions, they then started complaining that the employer had varied the interim arrangement.”

A Mpofu said the interim arrangement was never meant to be permanent.

“It is like a broiler chicken, which cannot enforce its right to life after six weeks of age because it is reared for slaughter and subsequently the frying pan,” he said.

“The interim arrangement had to come to an end.”

A Mpofu argued that the workers were failing to appreciate the nature of support rendered by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at the height of an economic meltdown in the country.

He said the RBZ assisted ZACC with a limited number of vehicles.

When some of the employees got the vehicles, A Mpofu said, they wrongly thought it was now part of their conditions of employment.

Source : The Herald