IT does not rain but pour for Jabulani Nkomo, the son of late Vice-President John Nkomo, after an independent arbitrator last week ruled against him in a case involving nine of his employees over $23 000 in outstanding salaries dating back to 2012.
The ruling piles more misery on Nkomo, whose Astra Building Centre Company was just last month ordered — in another case — by Bulawayo Labour Court judge Justice Mercy Moya Matshanga to pay a number of his workers more than $76 383 in outstanding salaries.
Moya Matshanga said in the event of Nkomo’s company failing to pay the amount, the workers were free to attach any property to recover their money.
Last week, the workers took Nkomo to the Labour Court accusing him of victimising and threatening them since the court ruled in their favour.
An independent arbitrator, one M Nkomo, has ruled in favour of nine other employees who brought Nkomo to the National Employment Council (NEC) demanding outstanding pay totalling $23 072.
The matter was referred for arbitration by the NEC in terms of section 93 (5)(c) of the Labour Act, chapter 28:01.
“From September 2012 to May 2014, the claimants had not been receiving their salaries in full,” Nkomo wrote in a ruling issued on Thursday February 26.
“In some months, they were not getting salaries at all.
“A dispute over non-payment of wages arose and parties could not resolve it at conciliation and the matter was eventually referred to me for arbitration.”
Nkomo accused the son of the late vice-president of violating the Labour Act by failing to pay his workers on time before ordering him to immediately start settling the outstanding salaries, spread over a 13-month period beginning this month.
The arbitrator said pleading financial troubles affecting the whole country was not an excuse for Nkomo to fail to pay employees.
“Non-payment of wages is a violation of section 6(1)(c) of the Labour Act, chapter 28:01 as read with section 9(1) Statutory Instrument 45 of 1993,” the arbitrator ruled.
“Having established a case of non-payment in this matter, it follows that the respondent is in breach of the above provisions.
“I am aware to the harsh economic situation being faced by business in general.
“However, the same businesses need employees to remain in business.
“So in arriving at a reasonable payment period, I have done so cognisant of economic realities, the respondent is ordered to pay salary arrears to the claimants over 13 months in addition to their monthly salaries.”
Nkomo could not be reached for comment.