Zupco to present debt settlement plan

THE Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (Zupco) will present a payment plan to offset outstanding wages and allowances owed to workers amounting to more than US$1,3 million on January 8 2015, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza

Workers at the parastatal engaged Wintertons Legal Practitoners lawyer Exodus Donzvambeva to recover their wages and allowances.
This led to the dismissal of the workers’ committee chairman Onson Mashinga and the resignation of the rest of the committee.

The newly elected workers committee and Donzvambeva held a meeting last week on Friday with the National Employment Council for Transport & General Workers Union to seek recourse over payment of outstanding wages and allowances. The employer was represented by the parastatal’s legal team at the meeting.

Sources said the Zupco legal team raised concerns over the appearance of Mashinga’s name on the application. Donzvambeva is said to have countered saying that the appearance of his name on the application would not affect the validity of the workers’ grievances including those of Mashinga, adding that the former workers’ committee name was there only for reference purposes.

Insiders said the transport operator’s legal team argued that the workers’ committee had no authority to represent employees in the matter demanding that they produce a resolution to that effect.

However Donzvambeva argued that according to Section 24 subsection 1(a) of the Labour Act, a workers’ committee has a mandate to represent the employees’ interest at any given workplace, sources said.

The Zupco legal team is also said to have queried the list of disgruntled workers, saying it comprised employees from both the northern and southern region making the list irregular.

Donzvambeva is said to have argued that they were dealing with Zupco as an entity, adding that there was no legal entity called Zupco Northern or Zupco Southern region.

Sources said Donzvambeva then produced a letter written by Zupco CEO Tendai Masaire dated August 13 this year pointing out that the letter is an admission of liability by Zupco over the employees’ outstanding wages and allowances. He added that failure to pay due to financial problems, as indicated by Masaire in his letter, is not a defence at law, sources said.

The Zupco legal team is said to have asked to consult with management over a plan to pay the money owed to employees and present it at their next meeting with the union set for January 8.
Contacted for comment, Donzvambeva confirmed that they had held “a very fruitful meeting” last week on Friday but would not go into details.