ZETDC fights ex-workers
SIXTEEN former Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) workers are demanding nearly US$1 million in salary arrears and terminal benefits after the ZESA Holdings subsidiary terminated their contracts of employment last month.
The 16 worked for the power distribution firm as loss control officers on renewable six-month contracts for various periods ranging between five to seven years.
On March 31, 2015, ZETDC did not renew their contracts and also failed to inform them that their services were no longer required.
The employees allege unfair labour practices and are demanding payment of salary arrears and terminal benefits.
In fact, they have continued to report for duty at their respective work stations.
This has prompted ZETDC to file an urgent court application to have them evicted from its premises, saying their actions were unlawful and placed the company’s property at risk.
“Applicant’s premises and its expensive goods estimated at US$50 million are in immediate urgent danger of theft and damage because the premises have no one providing guard services,” argued ZETDC in its application.
“The 16 are former employees whose three months fixed term contracts were not renewed at the end of March this year. They have taken the law into their own hands by removing applicant’s keys to the main gate and installing their own keys. They have been without any lawful basis to interfere with State assets.
“A professional company, VS Security Services (Private) Limited, that has been engaged through a private contract, has been barred from assuming guard duties at the same premises by the respondents hence the interests of justice that this matter be heard on an urgent basis’’.
But through their legal representatives engaged by the National Energy Workers Union of Zimbabwe, the employees have dismissed the application, saying that most of the points being raised were fabricated.
“ZETDC is providing security to its premises as usual. There are internal loss control officers manning the premises on a 24 hour basis. Further, the alleged VS Security Services personnel are actually inside the premises. The 16 accused employees are also still guarding the premises as usual and there is no threat to the applicant’s property as alleged.
“Further, the respondents are not interfering with any of the applicant’s business but are working in the scope of their usual business,” said the workers in their submission.
The employees have also explained that the critical issue was not about their contracts being terminated but the failure by ZETDC to communicate their position.
“The managing director circulated a letter on March 23 to the effect that contracts will be renewed. All the loss control officers in other parts of the country had their contracts renewed. The applicant’s failure to communicate with the respondents on termination of their contracts cannot be taken as the death nail upon the employees,” they argued.
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