MAY I highlight the ongoing labour dispute we have been engaged in since 2001.
A fictitious case was raised against 25
employees of Bata Shoe Company who were summarily dismissed on allegations of violence and sabotaging production.
In three consecutive trials handled by the National Employment Council, the Mashonaland Local Joint Council and the Labour Court there was failure to establish a case against the employees.
Bata was then ordered to reinstate them all with full benefits. The company appealed against the ruling.
However, the court then ruled that the employees be given six months’ salaries in order to cushion them from further suffering as they awaited the appeals date which was due in a month’s time.
A month elapsed but Bata did not comply with the order — a clear show of contempt for court.
The court sat and upheld the judgment given earlier on. In the final analysis, our Commercial Workers’ Union can also be held to be conniving with the company in order to victimise us.
Their failure to force Bata to comply with the laws of the land are suspect. In such a scenario, this is a case they should have long taken to the province of the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare if they are to be absolved of blame.
Certainly, authorities should rein in on some of these errant multinational companies who seem to abuse the space they enjoy in this country.
The main worry is that we are declared innocent in court but the company persecutes us willy-nilly because we are the victims of power and corruption. It is sad to note that two of my colleagues passed away after succumbing to the hardships. Who will compensate these souls or ensure that their long service was not exploited given the contempt of Bata?