Redcliff municipality sued for $1m over salary arrears
THE case in which Redcliff municipality workers are suing their employer for $1 million in salary arrears has spilled into the Supreme Court after the local authority appealed against the execution order granted by the High Court last week.
Redcliff had to produce the application in the 11th hour to bar the workers, under the Zimbabwe Urban Council Workers Union (ZUCWU), who were armed with the execution writ granted by the High Court, from attaching property on Monday.
The workers through lawyer Mr Artwell Chinamatira of Mashanyare and Mavhiringidze Legal Practitioners were granted the order by Bulawayo High Court Judge Justice Martin Makonese on 4 October following the local authority’s failure to own up to salary arrears of $1 116 530 backdating to 2012.
The workers were also granted another arbitral award against their employer in 2015 which the council failed to honour, leading to the disgruntled workers to take the matter to the High Court. Redcliff Mayor Councillor Freddy Kapuya confirmed the developments saying there were some grey areas that needed ironing out.
“It is not like we are refusing to pay the workers, but there are some issues that need to be attended to before we come to a point where we can really look into the matter,” said Clr Kapuya.
Chief among them, he said, was that some workers were in possession of house stands, houses and plots that they received from the local authority after negotiations as part of the salaries.
“As we all know, the economy is bad and we as council are not spared, some workers were given stands, houses and plots upon request after they discovered the economic hardships, so such issues need to be looked at before we proceed with the payments,” he said.
According to the appeal by the local authority filed by its legal representatives Wilmot and Benet Legal Practitioners, Redcliff argues that Justice Makonese misdirected himself when he came up with the order.
“Take note that applicant appeals against the whole final and definitive judgement of High Court of Zimbabwe per Mr Justice Makonese in case HC 2434/17 is not necessary.”
“The judge misdirected himself at law and in fact registration of an arbitral award in chambers without hearing both parties or referring the matter to be opposed,” further reads the appeal.
A man carries a sack full of empty plastic bottles collected from Bulawayo City Centre which he sells to people for reuse at Renkini Bus Terminus. On a good day he says he makes about $15