8 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Workers Attach 50 Council Vehicles

EIGHT Chitungwiza municipal workers have attached the employer's 50 vehicles to recover US$1,4 million awarded to them as back pay in a labour dispute.

The workers won a labour case against the municipality and got an order to be paid a combined US$1,4 million. Council did not pay the money, prompting the eight to seek the assistance of the deputy sheriff to attach the property.

Part of the property was removed from the municipality's headquarters in Zengeza while other vehicles were taken from the workshop in the industrial area.

The property was removed despite a pending urgent chamber application by council to stay execution.

The property listed for removal includes:

  • 12 Nissan UD trucks
  • 11 Nissan pick ups
  •  2 Toyota Fortuner
  •  1 Toyota Prado
  •  4 Ford Ranger
  •  3 Tractors
  •  2 Front end loaders
  •  7 Mazda pick-up trucks
  •  1 Hyundai sedan
  •  2 Mitsubishi trucks
  •  2 trailers
  •  1 Nissan Sunny
  •  1 Grass cutter
  • 4 x 5 000 litre tanks
  • 2 x 3 000 litre tanks

The urgent chamber application has been set down for hearing before Justice Bharat Patel next Tuesday.

According to the application filed at the High Court on Wednesday, Town Clerk Mr George Makunde argued that council had filed an appeal at the Supreme Court challenging the judgment.

This, he argued, meant the execution should be stayed pending determination of the matter.

Mr Makunde also stated in his affidavit that council had also filed an application for rescission of the High Court decision to register the award arguing it was yet to be determined.

Council argues that utility trucks and equipment were part of the attached property and there was a risk for outbreaks of diseases like typhoid and cholera.

Mr Makunde said council stood to lose if the property was auctioned because it would be sold for a song at the expense of the municipality's service delivery system.

The pending Supreme Court challenge will be rendered academic if the eight workers are allowed to take the property to the auction.

Chitungwiza Municipality is also under fire for failing to pay the generality of its workers for months.

Recently, the workers downed tools for days only to be ordered back to work by the Labour Court after the strike was declared illegal.

At least 20 workers were dismissed for taking part in the illegal strike.

Council faces various lawsuits among them a US$6 million claim by Harare City Council over water bill.

In a recent interview, Chitungwiza town clerk Mr Makunde said the municipality had a financial crisis caused bymismanagement by the previous leadership.

He said council's known debt, at the time hovered around US$20 million.

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