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Chamisa linked Zuva judgment knocks out Air Zimbabwe employees

by Staff reporter
12 Mar 2024 at 20:12hrs | Views
After accepting retrenchment packages, 300 former Air Zimbabwe employees lost their appeal against their dismissal, as ruled by the labor court. The terminations stemmed from the 2015 Zuva Petroleum Private Limited judgment, which resulted in the loss of over 6,000 jobs. This judgment clarified that employment contracts could be terminated by either party with notice.
Nelson Chamisa was part of the Zuva Petroleum legal team that defended the company against a Supreme Court challenge by a group of former managers.

Chamisa and his colleagues successfully argued that the law discriminated against employers by allowing one party to a contract to terminate on notice. The Supreme Court agreed and judgment triggered a bloodbath in industry with over 20 000 workers losing their jobs.

Initially challenged in the Supreme Court, the dismissal led to the reinstatement of the employees and compensation. However, upon reinstatement in December 2020, the employees were placed on unpaid leave while Air Zimbabwe underwent administration. Subsequently, in March 2021, Air Zimbabwe initiated a retrenchment process for these employees, providing them with minimum terminal benefits as per the Labor Act, which they accepted and utilized.

The employees later contested that Air Zimbabwe failed to comply with the Supreme Court order for reinstatement and argued that the retrenchment process was flawed. This dispute was taken to the National Employment Council (NEC), which determined that the Supreme Court order had been fulfilled and that the employees had waived their right to challenge the process by accepting and consuming the retrenchment package.

In response, the employees argued that the NEC misunderstood the law, contending that retrenchment shouldn't replace reinstatement. However, the Labor Court sided with Air Zimbabwe, stating that employees who accept retrenchment packages are deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions of termination.

The judge emphasized that termination of employment on notice is permissible under common law and that the appellants had acknowledged receipt of retrenchment letters, thereby confirming their understanding and acceptance of the terms. The judge concluded that the retrenchment process, under Section 12C, was designed to streamline the procedure without requiring approval from the retrenchment board or the Minister of Labour.

Ultimately, the judge ruled against the appeal, stating that the appellants had been reinstated and had waived their right to challenge the retrenchment procedure. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed with costs.

Source - newzimbabwe