Net*One labour dispute spills into High Court


Eric Chiriga

THE labour dispute between Net*One and its workers has spilled into the High Court after the cellphone company appealed against an earlier labour court ruling to reinstate t

he dismissed workers.


On February 10 the labour court upheld the ruling of the arbitrator that the dismissed workers should be reinstated.


Lovemore Matombo, the president of the Communications and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Caswuz), said a week after the labour court ruling, Net*One took the matter to the High Court.


High Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee referred the matter back to the labour court.


The cellular service provider last year fired 56 of its workers after they went on strike.


The workers went on strike on June 15 last year over a labour dispute.


Before going on strike, the workers gave notice of an intention to embark on industrial action after they failed to resolve the matter with their employer.

While the workers were on strike, Net*One conducted disciplinary proceedings in respect of each of the 56 workers.


As a result of the hearings, the workers were dismissed.


The workers then filed a complaint with a labour officer who met both parties but failed to settle the matter through conciliation.


The matter was then referred to compulsory arbitration and the arbitrator ruled in favour of the respondent, Caswuz, representing the workers.

According to court papers, three material issues emerged.


One of them is whether the matter ought to have been dealt with in terms of Part XIII of the Labour Act Chapter 28:01.


The part requires an employer who wishes to terminate a strike to apply to the appropriate authority for a show cause order calling upon the strikers to show cause why the strike should not be stopped.


If the authority grants the application, a return day is set when the parties appear in the court to argue the legality and disposition of the strike, including disciplinary action, if warranted, against the strikers.


The workers were reportedly assaulted by police when they gathered at Net*One head office, seeking to be reinstated according to the labour court judgement.


The police wanted the employees to vacate the offices as they could no longer be employed by Net*One.

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