Home » Industry » ZETDC Wins Appeal to Fire 19 Guards

Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company has no obligation to re-engage fixed term contract workers, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a case in which 19 security guards were fired after the expiry of their contracts.

After terminating the fixed term contracts of the guards, ZETDC hired the services of a security company to carry out the same work. The workers successfully sued ZETDC at the Labour Court, which ruled that the power company breached certain provisions of the Labour Act and ordered reinstatement of all the fired fixed term contract workers.

According to the judge in the Labour Court, the 19 guards were continuously engaged on fixed term contracts for a period stretching up to 11 years and had developed a legitimate expectation to be re-hired. Through its lawyer Aocate Thabani Mpofu, instructed by Muza and Nyapadi law firm, ZETDC approached the Supreme Court on appeal, arguing that the lower court failed to interpret the law resulting in it making a wrong judgement.

A Mpofu argued that the guards’ contention of legitimate expectation was untenable in the present case because when ZETDC terminated their contracts, it did not replace them with natural persons but hired a security company, which is a juristic person at law. He said the power company had no obligation to re-hire the guards. But the guards who were represented by Mr T Marume of Matsikidze and Mucheche law firm argued that the decision of the lower court was correct.

Having been employed on a fixed term contracts for more than a decade, Mr Marume said, his clients had the legitimate expectation to be re-hired. He said the power company should take them back instead of giving their job to “another person”.

Mr Marume said the lower court’s interpretation of “another person” in Section 12B (3) (b) of the Labour Act, to include juristic persons fitted well with the objective of the legislature.

Deputy Chief Justice Malaba agreed with A Mpofu’s submissions and ruled in favour of ZETDC.

Source : The Herald