THE Agricultural Bank of Namibia in a renewed court challenge has to prove that it followed the law when it laid off all its staff in 2007.
Four of the laid-off workers - Alex Kamandju, Gerhard Geiser, Bernadette Simana and Cecilia Pretorius - are claiming that the retrenchment process was unfair and that there was no consultation with affected staff.
They further charge that there was a breach of the recognition contract with the Namibia Financial Institutions Union (Nafinu), and that Agribank failed to notify the Labour Commissioner's office and Nafinu before declaring all jobs redundant.
This is one of the 24 cases that were handled by former Magistrate Leah Shaanika, which Control Magistrate Rina Horn said have to start afresh.
Magistrate Ivan Gawanab, who is presiding over the new case, ordered last month that Agribank must first present its case, proving that the retrenchments were in fact done procedurally.
Agribank's legal team Conradie & Associates, represented by Gerson Narib, started presenting witnesses in the District Labour Court on Friday, in what could again be a protracted legal process.
The four former employees said in a letter to their legal representative Jeff Tjitemisa that, during a recess at the District Labour Court in Windhoek on February 5, Dirk Conradie and Narib on behalf of Agribank asked them to present proposals for an out-of-court settlement.
They proposed a settlement amount of more than N$20 million, including a request for a N$300 000 tax exemption from the Receiver of Revenue.