HomeLocal NewsEconet in unfair labour storm

Econet in unfair labour storm

LORRAINE NDEBELE
TELECOMMUNICATIONS giant, Econet Wireless has been taken to court by an employee, Maxwell Kasema, over allegations of unfair treatment.

In a Labour Court application Kasema is raising concerns around his alleged omission from the company’s share scheme as well as a transfer which did not follow due process. Kasema was employed by Econet Wireless in February 2012 as a shop steward (Grade 3) and the job became permanent in February 2013.

In April 2013, Econet Wireless underwent a grading exercise and Kasema’s job title was changed to sales consultant.

He then raised an issue of remuneration alignment in accordance with his added duties and the matter culminated in an application for review being made to the Labour Court which failed on a preliminary point. A judgment was handed down on June 28, 2019.

Around the same period, Econet Wireless initiated an employee share scheme but despite a good record of performance, Kasema was excluded.

Kasema was aggrieved and after exhausting the internal grievance process he was advised by Econet Wireless management that the share scheme and the qualifying criteria for the same were confidential despite the fact that Econet’s remuneration policy advocates for transparency.

On June 27, 2019 and by letter, Kasema was advised that he was being unilaterally transferred from Harare to Manicaland province in Checheche.

Kasema mounted a grievance against the transfer on December 13, 2019 and he nevertheless complied with the company’s wishes.

“However, in the process of relocating to Checheche, Kasema was advised that he would now be working in Mutare and that is where he has been stationed despite being formally transferred to Checheche. The inconsistency and lack of certainty abides to this very date,” read part of the court application.

The application states that Kasema was not given an opportunity to make representations as to why the job transfer should be reconsidered. In all other previous transfers, Kasema was engaged prior to any decisions.

“Econet Wireless’s cumulative conduct which is proximate and pursuant to Kasema losing in court on a technicality makes it clear that Econet Wireless unjustifiably flexed its muscles at Kasema’s expense.”

Kasema then approached the National Employment Council for the Communications and Allied Services Industry for relief on the matter but Econet stated that it did not belong to the said employment council.

As a result of Econet’s unwillingness to recognise the jurisdiction of the National Employment Council for the Communications and Allied Services Industry, the employment council failed to make a determination regarding the relief sought by Kasema in terms of the aforementioned share scheme and unilateral transfer.

The court application is in terms of section 93(7)(b)(ii) of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01] seeking an order allowing Kasema to participate in the share scheme together with payment of all loss of benefit by Econet Wireless to Kasema and reinstatement of Kasema to his post in Harare with immediate effect. Econet is yet to respond to the Kasema application.

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