Labour Court’s lethargy riles ZCTU

The Labour Court’s low rate for clearing cases is a cause for concern and needs to be dealt with urgently, says the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, ZCTU president George Nkiwane said efforts by the workers’ body to engage the government over the operations of the Labour Court had proved futile. There had been no positive response over the years.

The development, he said, had largely affected workers whose cases were pending at the Labour Court.

“We are very worried about the manner in which the cases are being handled at the Labour Court. For a long time now, we have been complaining to government that they should make sure the Labour Court is empowered to enforce its decisions, but there has not been any positive response,” said Nkiwane.

He added that workers who got favourable judgements at the court were having to undergo a cumbersome process because the court lacked the power to enforce its own decisions.

“Even if you get a favourable judgement at the Labour Court, you still have to go to the High Court so that the ruling can be enforced. The ZCTU is saying that government should make sure the structure of the Labour Court is changed so that it becomes efficient,” he added.

Statistics indicate that, out of a total of 4,336 cases brought before the

Labour Court in 2013, 2,090 were finalised and 2,276 are pending.

The concern from the ZCTU tallies with a report by the Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, over the “unending backlogs” at the Labour Court.

Officially opening the 2014 legal year this month, Chidyausiku said the inflow of cases exceeded completion, “thereby making the existence of a backlog inevitable”.

“Each year, more cases are being filed with the court than the number of judgements and orders coming out of that court,” he said. “I have, on a previous occasion, expressed my disquiet about the structure of the Labour Court, which, in my view, contributes to the uneven flow of work and culminates in the unending backlogs.

“Like the High court, the performance of the Labour Court is a cause for concern to me as head of the judiciary and efforts will be made in 2014 to find solutions for how to bring down the backlogs in these two courts,” said Chidyausiku.

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