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Air Zimbabwe employee wins $88 878 terminal benefits wrangle

by Staff reporter
09 Jun 2018 at 15:52hrs | Views
Air Zimbabwe's bid to avoid shelling out $88 878 in terminal benefits to a retrenched employee, has hit a brickwall after the High Court dismissed the national airline's application for rescission of an arbitration award.

High Court judge Justice Alpheus Chitakunye recently upheld an arbitrator's ruling, compelling Air Zimbabwe Holdings to pay Samson Meki's benefits following termination of his employment contract.

According to court papers, sometime in December 2009, AirZim Holdings issued Meki with a notice to retrench him and the parties later agreed on the terms and conditions of the retrenchment package on February 5, 2010.

"After about three years, the second applicant (AirZim Holdings) was still unable to pay the package and so the respondent (Meki) took legal action to actualise the retrenchment. In this regard the matter was taken for arbitration from which an arbitral award in the sum of $88 878 was granted in April 2013," Justice Chitakunye said.

"The second respondent was still unable to effect the payment. Instead, it later sought to retract on the package and to terminate the respondent's employment on notice. Unfortunately, this was too late as the retrenchment package had already been made an order of this court and the respondent was intent on enforcing the order."

The judge added: "I am of the view that if indeed the first applicant (AirZim) believed the judgment was in error that was the appropriate time to apply for rescission in terms of rule 449. This was not done. The first applicant waited until after being served with a court application for a garnishee order in December 2016.

"I am of the view that the delay in instituting this application was inordinate in the circumstances and for that reason the application may not be granted as well. I am of the view that the circumstances of this case call for censure of the applicants by way of punitive costs."

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