THE late Vice-President John Landa Nkomo’s oldest son Jabulani has been taken to court on allegations of threatening and victimising his employees for demanding outstanding salaries.
Bulawayo Labour Court judge Justice Mercy Moya Mtshanga last month ruled against Nkomo over a pay dispute and directed that his Astra Building Company pay workers $76 383 in outstanding salaries.
Justice Moya Mtshanga ruled that in the event Nkomo’s company failed to pay the amount, workers were free to attach any property to recover their money.
Nkomo has allegedly resorted to victimising and frustrating his workers in a bid to force them to quit, according to lawyers representing the employees.
In a Labour Court application filed on February 27 by the workers’ lawyer Samuel Mlaudzi of Sam Mlaudzi and Partners, the workers said Nkomo had “now resorted to victimising employees in order to create a platform to unnecessarily fire us from employment”.
“This has been going on for a while now and at times the employer is using frustrating methods whereby he just deliberately creates an unworkable environment on targeted employees so that we just feel frustrated and quit,” the workers said.
“We like to put it on record that it is a legal mandate for an employer to always remunerate their employees every month for services rendered.
“So if the employer fails to meet his obligation, we as employees have the legal right to approach the courts for conciliation, in the same manner the employer also has the legal channels to take where an employee acts outside contractual boundaries.”
Nkomo is represented by Christopher Dube of Dube, Nzarayapenga and Partners. The matter has not been set down for a hearing.
According to the application, Astra Building workers’ committee chairperson Jeshuwa Zvivanashe has been fired while his deputy Clyde Charumba has resigned due to the alleged victimisation.
The workers’ lawyer said those targeted have been shortlisted for retrenchment while some have been earmarked for transfer to Lugo Ranch in Matabeleland North.
“Therefore, by doing this (victimisation) the employer is trying to create an atmosphere whereby we will become afraid to claim our dues which will consequently work to his advantage,” the workers said in their application.
“We, therefore, would like our employer to stop this issue of victimisation and frustrating us, and follow legal channels like retrenchment if he feels there is need for him to cut down on the number of employees.
“This is so because he has always been talking about downsizing, but now he is using illegal methods to achieve his goals. He has used short timing before, but failed to achieve his goals and we are therefore advising him to use legal means not victimisation and frustration.”