Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

20 January 2014

Tanzania: TPC Boss Appeals Over Workers' Salary Arrears

THE Postmaster General has gone to the Court of Appeal to challenge a refusal by the High Court to review its decision regarding payments of salaries arrears and other benefits to his former employees.

The decision being sought to be challenged was delivered by Judge Augustine Shangwa on February 15, last year, rejecting an application for review filed by the Post Master General to oppose a ruling earlier issued by the court on August 31, 2009, because it was time-barred.

On August 31, 2009, the High Court judge ordered the former workers to be paid subsistence allowances from the date of retrenchment to the date of final payment.

The subsistence allowances will be 6,400/- per day and such amount will carry an interest of 20 per cent from the date of retrenchment to the date they are paid. Other benefits would attract interest at the court rate from the date of judgment to the final payment.

The TPC boss is seeking the intervention of the Court of Appeal on the basis that he was barred from instituting a review application after the High Court granted extension of time to file an appeal considering that the applicant was not summoned to appear when the judgment was read.

He also requests the Appeals Court to consider whether, after the High Court had found that the trial court had no jurisdiction was, therefore, barred to review its judgment on appeal.

Furthermore, the applicant seeks for guidance on whether the order of extension of time basing on the fact that he was not summoned when judgment was read had the effect of putting the parties in the position immediately after delivery of the same.

In his affidavit to support the application, Advocate Godwin Muganyizi, for the applicant, stated that way back in 1997, the ex-workers had sued the applicant at the Kisutu Resident Magistrates' Court in Dar es Salaam for arrears of salaries and allowances.

The trial court passed judgment in favour of the workers, but the workers were aggrieved by the decision and appealed to the High Court. However, the judgment by the High Court was delivered without summoning the Postmaster General.

As a result, the applicant was aggrieved and applied for extension of time on grounds that the judgment was pronounced in his absence, thereby denying him the right of taking further steps and that the trial court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine labour matters.

The application for extension of time was granted. The court having ruled that the trial court had no jurisdiction, the Postmaster General applied for review of the judgment.

But the High Court dismissed the application, holding that the applicant had no option of review, adding that the application was in any case time-barred.

Having been aggrieved by the decision, the applicant immediately lodged another application for leave to lodge an appeal on the matter to the Court of Appeal, but the same was dismissed on December 19, last year, on grounds that it was an abuse of the court process.

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