IN THE LABOUR COURT OF ZIMBABWE
HELD AT HARARE 18TH SEPTEMBER 2013
AND 31ST JANUARY 2014
In the matter between:-
STAR AFRICA CORPORATION - Appellant
SUGAR REFINERY WORKERS UNION - Respondent
Before The Honourable Hove, J
For Appellant Mr Z Makorie (Legal Practitioner)
For Respondent Mr E Maponga (Trade Unionist)
HOVE, J: The parties in this case were engaged in a dispute of salaries. The parties failed to agree on the determination of a new minimum wage for the Industry for the period 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2011. They also failed to agree on a housing allowance for the period 1 January 2011 to 30 June 2011.
The employees wanted the minimum basic salary to be increased from $157 to $150 per month. They sought no increment for the housing allowance. The employer partly wanted to maintain the position aquo ante.
Before the Arbitrator, according to the award, the employer made generalized submissions. No explanations as regards the company’s financial position were given.
The Arbitrator was however able to note that the company had not made profits in the years 2011 and 2012. But that the company had been using the profits from another sister company which was recording profits i.e. Country Choice which had recorded a profit of US$33 000 for the year ending March 2012. The Arbitrator noted the loss which had been posted for the Appellant company.
The Arbitrator then considered the position of the employees and the high cost of living in terms of accommodation and other basic needs.
He decided to strike a compromise decision by minimally raising the salary. He also awarded a housing allowance. In making the minimum adjustments upwards, the Arbitrator took into account the hardships being faced by the company and decided not to further burden the company financially beyond the bare minimal increases to cushion the workers from the high cost of living.