Zim architects gun for Mutorwa

05 July 2019 | Local News

The Office of the Labour Commissioner has ruled it has the jurisdiction to hear a matter in which 11 Zimbabwean architects claim their services were unfairly terminated by the Namibian government.

They have filed an application against works minister John Mutorwa, requesting the payment of their severance pay.

This matter follows a previous High Court order that stated the architects must vacate their positions at the ministry after it was found that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Namibia and Zimbabwe had expired.

The notice of arbitration award states that the matter was postponed from 4 December 2018 to 14 February this year.

It also pointed out that at conciliation the ministry questioned the jurisdiction of the labour commissioner's office, claiming it does not have the jurisdiction to hear matters challenging the validity of an order of the High Court. Government also argued that the architects were notified of the termination of their contracts on 30 April 2018, and were given three months' notice, which was in line with their contracts.

However, the architects submitted that the labour commissioner had to decide on their dismissals and not the High Court order.

According to the notice of award, the architects said government dismally failed and neglected to present their employment contracts before the High Court and only made reference to the MoU.

The architects also argued that the High Court made the order while under the impression that they were employed in terms of the MoU, when in fact they had individual employment contracts with different terms.

Mutorwa said yesterday they will comment after the verdict.

JEMIMA BEUKES