China Aid State Construction Company has been ordered to pay more than $37 000 as terminal benefits to 33 former employees.
The 33 workers were previously employed as artisans during the construction of Hatcliffe High School in Harare, a project that was sponsored and constructed by the Chinese firm.
Through their lawyer, Mr Marko Chiwaridzo of Chiwaridzo and Partners, the former workers won their case before a labour officer, Mr Tinashe Chibasa, but the company appealed against the decision at the Labour Court.
On July 26, the Labour Court upheld the labour officer’s decision that the group be given $37 045.
In his judgment, Justice Bridget Chivizhe ordered that: “The point in line be and hereby is upheld. The appeal, not being properly placed before the court, it be and is hereby dismissed with costs.”
The affected workers have since written to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asking for their intervention after the Chinese company failed to comply with the court’s ruling.
They have also written to the Chinese Embassy.
“We were employed as artisans at Hatcliffe High School, a project financed and constructed by the State of China, through China Aid State Construction Company,” the former workers said.
“The employer, out of the blue, decided to terminate our contracts of employment. Because there was no cause to do so, we took the issue to the National Employment Council, where the matter, in terms of the law, was deliberated on, with both parties making submissions.”
The workers said they had been making efforts to be paid their money, but to no avail.
On Wednesday last week, the sacked workers demonstrated at the Chinese Embassy and asked to be addressed by embassy officials.
“We are hearing once again that the employer wants to go back to China, hence the refusal to engage us on the payment issue,” the workers said. “They are in the process of removing some of the equipment from site.
“We are thus not able to manage the employer on our own, hence our plea for your (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) intervention. We sincerely fear that the employer might run away before paying us.” The Herald