Thursday, July 25, 2013

Zimbabwe court orders reinstatement of union leader

After a year of fighting the unfair dismissal of ZEWU president Angeline Chitambo, the Zimbabwe labour court ruled in her favour. Her dismissal was unfair, and she should be reinstated without any loss of salary.

Just little over a year ago, Angeline Chitambo, president of the Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEWU), was unfairly dismissed for allegedly inciting workers to embark on industrial action over the national electricity power utility ZESA’s non-compliance with the bargaining agreement. Chitambo, who is also a member of the Executive Committee of IndustriALL, was particularly targeted for statements made to the press.
It has been a year of struggle and a show of international support and solidarity. After an appeal against an unfair decision by ZESA’s disciplinary body, the Zimbabwe labour court put an end to the ordeal last week. The court ruled that President Chitambo should be reinstated at her previous position at work without any loss of salary and benefits.
Commenting after her court victory, Angeline Chitambo said that gone are the days when employer can take workers for granted:
“I am very happy that justice has finally prevailed. This is a lesson to employers that workers can never be taken for granted. Employers must be told that no one is above the law.”
The labour court also ruled in favor of Dennis Mukote, (ZEWU national executive member) and David Nyika. Both had been suspended for a year, but are now to be reinstated with full benefits and without a loss of salaries. All the other suspended workers had already been reinstated earlier.
IndustriALL Global Union’s General Secretary Jyrki Raina welcomes the court’s ruling, and says that he expects ZESA to immediately honor it:
“This is an important victory. We congratulate President Chitambo and her colleagues and look forward to their reinstatement.”  
In April, a criminal court had already found ZESA guilty of contravening the Labour Act by not complying with the registered collective bargaining agreement.

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