THE Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (Baz) has applied for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against a judgment by the Labour Court allowing bank managers to form a trade union.
An application by Baz represented by Kantor & Immerman Legal Practioners to stop bank managers from forming a trade union was thrown out by the Labour Court. Mawire JT & Associates represented the managerial employees. This comes after bank managers proposed to form a Banking and Finance Managers Union.
In its application to the Labour Court, Baz had indicated that section 45(1)(b) of the Labour Act barred managers from forming and registering a trade union, arguing that managerial employees are represented by an employer’s organisation. Baz also argued that managerial employees forming a trade union is against public policy as managers are custodians of sensitive documents belonging to Baz members. The association also argued that a managerial trade union would result in over unionisation of the industry.
However, Labour Court Judge Emilia Muchawa threw out the case rejecting the arguments by Baz.
“ I have looked at the appellant’s argument on public policy. The Labour Act and the international instruments referred to above clearly support employees’ forming and joining a trade union and the desirability of affording the majority of employees and employers within an undertaking or industry effective representation in negotiations affecting their rights and interests,” Muchawa said. “Further the Act does not discourage the formation of more than one union in any industry. It aims merely to reduce the number of entities with which employees and employers can negotiate. In casu there are now two unions, one for non managerial employees and another for managerial ones. This is not over unionisation.”
Muchawa said Baz’s claims that the registration of banking managers as a union was against public policy were unfounded.
“I therefore find the appellant’s fears and allegations of the registration of the first respondent being against public policy are unfounded. Such registration supports the intention of the State, enhances justice for managerial employees and has not been shown to be contrary to the public interest,” Muchawa noted. “Accordingly, this appeal is dismissed with costs, in its entirety.”
However Baz has appealed to the Supreme Court arguing Muchawa erred in law in finding that managers could be registered as a trade union. Baz argued finding that refusal to allow managers would be unconstitutional. They are seeking the setting aside of Muchawa’s judgement.