BY JAMES MUTASA
The Designated Agent for the National Employment Council for the Security Industry one Chitsika recently ordered Peace Security Company to reinstate workers’ committee members whose renewable contract of employment were not renewed after they had sued their employer for underpayments.
According to the 12 employees who were security guards at the United States of America Embassy and members of the workers committee, Peace Security was annoyed by the fact that the unfairly dismissed employees had queried why they were being paid salaries lower than those stated on their contracts of employment.
In her ruling Chitsika pointed out that all contracts of employment for the claimants reads as follows, ‘this contract is renewable but should the embassy to which you will be attached terminate, your contract shall also terminate and notice runs concurrently with the contract notice period. The basis upon which contracts were to be renewed or terminated was the cancellation of the Respondent’s contract with the US Embassy. The US Embassy did not terminate its contract with the company so there was no justification for the termination of the claimants’ contracts,’ wrote Chitiska in her determination.
“Besides having raised the issue of underpayment, the claimants submitted that they had no disciplinary records to justify termination of their contacts,’ she added.
Further, the Designated Agent went on, “despite respondent’s submission that the discretion to renew the contracts rested with the employer as stated by the contracts, the renewal of your contract should be at the discretion of the employer who will consider various aspects and circumstances. The paragraph is instructive that on renewing the contracts the Respondent will do so after consideration of other factors. It is on that understanding that this court was swayed to believe Claimants submissions that despite them having no disciplinary records the only reason the employer considered was the point of them raising the issue of underpayments which would point to victimization of claimants,” reasoned the Designated Agent in her determination.
‘The Claimants had a legitimate expectation of being re-engaged and the Respondent is hereby ordered to reengage the Claimants with effect from 1 August 2023,’ ordered Chitsika in her determination. Peace Moyo a member of the Peace Security Company and one of the unfairly dismissed employees told the Worker Newspaper that, they had failed to reach common ground with the employer regarding their salaries and they had to refer the matter to the NEC for conciliation.
‘Peace Security retaliated to our grievance by not renewing our renewable contract of employment. The employer targeted members of the workers’ committee and this is a clear case of victimization,’ Moyo said.
“We have a genuine legitimate expectation of continuing working for our contracts of employment clearly state that they are renewable as long as Peace Security is still contracted to the US Embassy,” Moyo concluded.
Be that as it may Peace Security has indicated through their lawyers that they want to appeal to the Labour Court against the determination.