Former Zimplow Holdings employees who are loggerheads with the company over unpaid dues have been dragged to the High Court by the latter seeking an order to stop staging protests at its premises in Bulawayo.
The workers were retrenched after Zimplow Holdings took advantage of a July 17, 2015, Supreme Court ruling to the effect that an employer had a right to terminate a permanent employment contract on notice.
Five years after they were retrenched, the company still had no fully paid their dues prompting them to hold a demonstration inside Zimplow Holdings’ premises last year in December.
Zimplow Holdings then went to the High Court seeking to stop its former employees from setting foot inside their premises.
The summons were duly served to the employees including a member of the Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP), Parton Xaba who was part of the demonstration.
Through its lawyers, Calderwood, Bryce Hendrie and Partners, Zimplow Holdings cited 10 respondents who include Parton Xaba, MRP’s National Organising Secretary, the officer in Charge of Mzilikazi police station, the Sheriff of the High Court of Zimbabwe and Paul Ngwenya, leader of the former workers.
“On the 20th December 2019 and the 17th February 2020, the 3rd (Paul Ngwenya) – 9th (Parton Xaba) respondents overwhelmed the applicant’s security (Zimplow Holdings) and invaded the aforementioned property with what appears to be the intention of disrupting the applicant’s business activities,” read Zimplow’s application.
In an interview with CITE, Xaba confirmed that the former employees had been summoned by the courts but said the company must also honour what it owes its former workers.
“We were served summons last week Tuesday on orders that we go to the High Court chambers on Thursday. The workers were supposed to be represented by a lawyer (Vuyile Mpofu of VJ Mpofu and Associate) but unfortunately, he was unavailable, having made prior arrangements to be in Inyathi,” he said.
“But without legal representation, the high court could not allow the case to proceed and Judge Maxwell Takuva agreed we must wait for our lawyer to come.”
Xaba said when Friday came, both parties agreed not to protest at the premises but the workers` lawyer noted he would take up their case for them to receive their dues.
“If the company doesn’t give us our money we will go back again to demonstrate. The judge said apart from summons to stop us from demonstrating and police to deny us consent, he asked the human resources officer at Zimplow (Alderman David Ndlovu) why the company hadn’t paid workers. He noted that the law must look at both sides so workers must be paid,” he claimed.
When they were demonstrating last year, the former employees quizzed the manner in which their case was withdrawn from Labour Court without their consent.