BEITBRIDGE BULAWAYO RAILWAY COMPANY
ZIMBABWE AMALGAMATED RAILWAY UNION AND ARBITRATOR GLADYS MPEMBA
SUPREME COURT OF ZIMBABWE
MALABA DCJ, GOWORA JA & OMERJEE AJA
BULAWAYO, NOVEMBER 26, 2012 & MARCH 26, 2013
S Hwacha, with P Madzivire, for the appellant
V Majoko, for the first respondent
No appearance for the second respondent
OMERJEE AJA: At the conclusion of submissions for both parties the court allowed the appeal with costs. It was indicated at the time that reasons for the decision would follow in due course. These are they. The appellant is a company registered in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe and operating a railway transportation business. The first respondent is a registered trade union for the railway industry. The second respondent is an independent arbitrator registered in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe. In June 2009, owing to viability challenges the appellant engaged its employees and the first respondent with a view to reducing its workforce through a process of retrenchment. The parties failed to secure an agreement. As a result the appellant decided to proceed in terms of the Labour Act [Cap 28:01] in order to achieve a retrenchment of some of its labour force. A notice together with a list of employees to be retrenched accompanied by the reasons for seeking retrenchment was prepared by the appellant.
As of the 3 July 2009, a total of 35 employees in their individual capacities negotiated and mutually agreed on an exit package with the appellant with the knowledge and consent of the respondent. Separately, a group of employees numbering 35 were represented by the respondent in regard to their proposed retrenchment. A dispute arose between the appellant and the respondent as to whether it had followed the correct procedure in seeking to effect retrenchment.