AN industrial arbitrator appointed by the Labour and Social Welfare ministry has ordered Zimpapers to pay former Sunday Mail acting news editor Matthew Takaona more than $10 billion in damages for unlawfully dismissing him in 2004 following an address t
o journalists of the banned Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday.
In axing him, the newspaper group said Takaona, who made the address in his capacity as president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) had made utterances “whose contents were inconsistent with group interests” that were however not defined.
Zimpapers has since appealed to the Labour Court against having the award inflation-adjusted among other things.
The company said the award would have “the absurd effect of having Mr Takaona as the only known worker over the past two years whose earnings actually matched inflation”.
In his application lodged with the arbitrator the ZUJ president said his dismissal was irrational, baseless and vindictive as it was in violation of the weekly paper’s code of conduct and statutory instrument 130/30.
The violations were evidenced by the fact that he was not charged or tried but summarily dismissed, Takaona added.
On his address to Daily News reporters he said: “I have the duty to express solidarity with all journalists in trouble and to guide, lead and fight for their rights within the parameters of the law. I have done no less, no more.”
Although Takaona had sought an alternative of reinstatement, Zimpapers was of the view that it was no longer a
viable option. — Staff Writer.