Chitungwiza strike: Workers lose High Court bid

HARARE - Chitungwiza workers, who embarked on an industrial action over claims of unpaid salaries, have lost a High Court bid seeking to nullify a show cause order issued by Nicholas Goche, the Labour and Social Welfare minister.

High Court Judge David Mangota yesterday dismissed the application with costs.

The workers are represented by Tafadzwa Mboko in the matter, which is also still pending at the Labour Court.

The Labour Court reserved ruling after Mboko raised a point in limine (a motion made before a trial begins).

He argued that the show cause order, a document instructing workers to stop the collective job action and return to work was null and void, since it was given way after the strike had stopped.

According to the Labour Act (chapter 28:01), the Labour minister has the executive powers of issuing a show cause order which immediately halts any collective job action within 24 hours so that the job dispute’s legality will be determined before the courts.

In the Labour Court application, the Chitungwiza council is seeking a disposal order.

The disposal order is to the effect that the industrial action should be terminated and that the council take disciplinary action against employees who participated in the “unlawful job action” and defied the show cause order.

Mboko told the court that the first show cause order was signed by Health minister David Parirenyatwa, before Goche signed another document on the same day.

“Our enquiries with the ministry of Labour confirmed that the minister was out of office and someone else signed for him. This is a gross irregularity which is fatally defective,” Mboko said.

He said the disposal order cannot proceed because there is no show cause order, adding that the workers stopped the industrial action despite the defective show cause order.

However, Rodgers Matsikidze, who appeared on behalf of the Chitungwiza town council said, there was nothing wrong in Parirenyatwa signing the show cause order on behalf of Goche.

“No evidence has been placed before this court that the person who signed had no authority to sign the show cause,” Matsikidze said.

He said the minister’s functions can be delegated, adding that the workers should have applied for Goche to be included in the proceedings so that he explains the position.

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