19 March 2019

Zimbabwe: Russians Win U.S.$385 400 Salaries Case Against ZCDC

Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Corporation (ZCDC) was last week ordered to pay US$385 438 to 13 Russian nationals after taking their company's operations and liabilities which included paying its workers' salaries.

ZCDC failed to pay Victor Kusyla, Belonogova Elena, Fedolaik Anton, Iemelianov Oleskii, Malafev Alexey, Novak Natalia, Novoselov Pavel, Slonov Roman, Slonov Vladimir, Turushev Iurii, Tuz Yaroslav and Vinnim Victor, who are Russian nationals their salaries after taking over the operations of DTZ-OZGEO which employed the Russia.

The Russians, through their legal counsel, lodged a complaint of unpaid salaries at the Labour Court where the arbitrator Ms Brenda Garudza granted an order instructing ZCDC to pay the Russians their outstanding salary balance of US$385 438.

The Russians, through their lawyers, argued that ZCDC must pay them their dues as they had done their work and should be paid their salaries.

"Claimants submit that clause 4.2 of the Memorandum of Agreement states that liabilities together with interest accrued and other amounts payable in connection therewith whether before or after the effective date were conditionally and irrevocably transferred to and assumed by the said transferee, ZCDC in accordance with Section 16 of the act.

"It is the claimants' submission that respondent is committing an act of unfair labour practice since it has been a year and half after the transfer and this obligation has not been met. The complainant party states that Section 13 (2) of the Act maculates the claim forbidding the respondent from failing to make payments due to service delivery.

"Claimant states that they should be paid their dues as provided for under Article 4.2 of the Memorandum of Agreement," said the lawyer.

The court heard that ZCDC and DTZ-OZGEO signed a Memorandum of Agreement on May 10, 2017 where ZCDC agreed to pay the Russians their salaries.

It has not been rebutted that respondent took over operations in February 2016 and the parties attended conciliation hearings whereat they failed to reach an amicable settlement.

"The complainants pray that their dues be paid in US$. Respondent argues that there is no justification for same, any recognised legal tender can be used, this tribunal noted that the said liabilities as shown under Clause 4.1 of the agreement are shown in US$ (US$11 262 148)."

"It, therefore, follows that the claim be paid in United States dollars as per agreement. This tribunal found no merit in awarding interest to the said amounts as same shall be paid in hard currency," said Ms Garudzo in her findings'

However, in passing judgment, Ms Garudzo ordered ZCDC to pay the Russians the outstanding balance forthwith.

"Respondent be and is hereby ordered to pay three hundred and eighty-five thousand four hundred and thirty eight United States Dollars (385 438) to the complainants," she said.

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