The Labour Court reserved judgment in the case involving ZEWU President Angeline Chitambo against ZESA while the Harare Arbitration Tribunal ruled that ZEWU National Executive member, Dennis Mukote who has been on suspension since July 2012 be reinstated immediately.
Chitambo, Mukote and Shumba were last year suspended from work after being accused of inciting ZESA workers to embark on industrial action following the employer’s refusal to abide by a Statutory Instrument 50 of 2012 which stipulated that employees in the parastatal were supposed to be given salary increments as per 2012 CBA.
Shumba was later on reinstated while Chitambo was dismissed after a kangaroo ZESA court found her ‘guilty’ on the last charge of the five charges she was facing.
Mukote who remained on suspension took the matter to the Abitration Tribunal while Chitambo fought for her case in the Labour Court.
Rodgers Matsikidze who represented Chitambo at the court said they were waiting for the bench’s final verdict anytime soon.
“We appeared before the court and where the ZESA lawyer had been barred from the proceedings as they had not filed their papers properly.Furthermore ZESA had unsuccessfully applied for the postponement.
“After some deliberations, the case sailed through unopposed and judgment was reserved….so that means we will be waiting for the final ruling onto the matter anytime soon,”said Matsikidze.
Mukote who was represented by ZEWU National Organising Secretary took the matter to the Arbitration Tribunal which ruled in his favour.
In his final arbitral award ruling, independent arbitrator P Shawatu said he noted a number of irregularities in the manner in which Mukote was dismissed from work.
“The claimant (Mukote) indeed attended the press conference but did so in his capacity as a trade union official outside the respondent (ZESA)’s premises and outside the normal working hours.He did not attend as an employee of ZESA,”noted Shawatu.
“From the narration given by both parties, Mukote was not reported as having said or having been seen personally presenting a speech at the press conference.By just being found seated with one representing the document does not mean Mukote was agreeable to what was being said,”he said.
Arbitrator Shawatu added that the gathering itself (press conference) was not a criminal activity since it was done outside ZESA premises.
In his final ruling, Shawatu said:
“ZESA is therefore ordered to reinstate Mukote to his former position without any loss of pay and other benefits effective the date of his suspension and that should be done within 14 working days from the Arbitral Award.”
Commenting on the outcome of the award an elated Mukote said he was grateful that justice finally prevailed.
Chitambo said she was grateful that there was some progress in the courts of law.