Fleximail labour dispute rages on

HARARE - Eight ex-Fleximail (Private) Ltd employees, who were part of 31 workers demanding compensation from their former employer for illegal dismissal, have died as the labour dispute rages on, nine years later.

Seven years ago, the Labour Court ordered the reinstatement or compensation of the sacked workers, but Fleximail offered to pay damages equivalent to five years’ salary in Zimbabwean dollars.

The High Court, however, ruled that payment should be made in United States dollars, forcing the firm to approach the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court yesterday set aside the High Court ruling, before remitting the case back to the Labour Court for determination.

The employees are represented by Munyaradzi Gwisai, who said the delay in finalising the case undermined fundamental rights of workers.

Making submissions, Gwisai told the court the company paid the workers the money in Zimbabwean dollars at a time when the country had already adopted the multi-currency system.

On the other hand, Fleximail said it had no mandate to pay in United States dollars.

“The appellant (Fleximail) had no obligation to pay in United States dollars,” Fleximail said, adding the case was deliberated during a time when the country was still using the local currency.

Fleximail further said the High Court had no jurisdiction to handle the issue.

Gwisai said when a cheque in the sum of Z$12 594, 77 was forwarded to the workers in 2009, it had no value, considering that the Zimbabwean dollar was no longer in use at the time.

The employees, through their legal practitioners, returned the cheque.

Gwisai said it was not proper for one of the employees who worked for the company for 46 years to just walk away with nothing.

In the High Court ruling, Justice Andrew Mutema had said that the Zimbabwean dollar, by that time, had become valueless and useless.

“This would amount to non-payment thereby reducing court orders into empty judgments which is both unfair and against public policy,” Mutema said.

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