Ex-Bata Shoe Company employee seeks $30 000 from employment dismissal

By William Milasi

An ex-worker employed by Bata Shoe Company has approached the court to force his former employees settle him nearly $30 000 in terminal benefits.

Albert Muzondiwa who said he was employed by Bata since 1971 up to the time of his termination in 2015 says the company owes him $28 895.

Muzondiwa through his lawyer Devius Mujaya won the matter at the Labour Court late last year but Bata has said it is going to approach the Supreme Court for determination.

The ex-employee said they are going to apply for the quantification of compensation payable to Muzondiwa following his loss of employment by Bata.

“In terms of the judgment of this honorable court handed down on the 20th of September 2018 this honorable court ordered that I be paid compensation for loss of employment with effect from 22 March 1971 being the date of engagement to the 7th of August 2015 being the date my contract of employment was terminated on three months’ notice,” Muzondiwa said.

Bata has however, said it is going to approach the Supreme Court to reverse the Labour Court’s decision.

As at the date of the termination of employment Muzondiwa was getting a basic fortnight salary was in the sum of $680 the money which translated to an estimated $33 689.

He said in August last year Bata transferred a sum of $4 793 into his bank account in terms of the Labor ruling which the court did not confirm.

“The Respondent should therefore pay me a total $28 895 as compensation for loss of employment,” he said.

In December 2005 Muzonidwa has said that when he was on leave he received a call from the then Managing Director of Bata Zimbabwe to go to Malawi and sort out the problems there because the country manager for Bata Malawi had died.

According to his defence team he was not asked to resign from Bata Zimbabwe neither was he requested to be transferred to Malawi.

Muzondiwa argues that he took the position in Malawi with a belief that he was taking up the position on a temporary basis.

He also argued that he did not receive any letter of termination from Zimbabwe upon taking up the new position.

In Malawi it is said he did not sign a new contract of employment.

“He signed an agreement that says was to show his salary in local currency in Malawi. In Zimbabwe he signed benefits withdraw form before going to Malawi

“The explanation for signing his withdrawal form was that he was no longer going to be contributed to the fund. He did not receive any payments for having terminated contributions to his fund. Instead his money was placed in another fund,” said the defence team.

In July 2007 Albert was recalled to Bata Zimbabwe.

Once again this was done by word of mouth by a telephone call.

Upon return he did not sign a new contract and was also not placed in the same position before he left for Malawi.

His pay slip instead indicated that his employment with Bata Zimbabwe commenced in July 2009.

He said he took issue with that and that it was not resolved by the time his services were terminate in 2015.

“The question that has arisen now is whether his employment with Bata Zimbabwe is from 1971 or 2009 for the purposes of terminal benefits in terms of the Labour Act?” Mujaya his defence lawyer asked.

Bata has however through its lawyers indicated that indeed there was evidence of termination.

Bata outlined its reasons as: “He terminated his contributions to the Pension Fund

“He did not remain a member according to the rules of Pension Fund.

“He signed a new contract in Malawi and a new contract on his return to Zimbabwe and was not treated like an employee on the secondment.

“Bata Malawi and Bata Zimbabwe are separate legal entities and Albert was under the control and supervision of Bata Malawi as new employer.

“On return he took up new posts totally different from the former post,” Bata said in its arguments.

Muzondiwa has indicated that since Bata is yet to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court he is going to proceed with filing for quantification on the amount he is supposed to be paid.

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