ZBC seeks eviction order for ex-workers

THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has turned to the courts in attempts to force its former workers to vacate company flats located in Harare’s avenues area.

ZBC-Logo-250The workers, who include those retrenched by the state broadcaster, have ignored a three months’ notice issued over a year ago to leave the premises and make way for renovations to take place.

But the affected former workers have vowed to stay put arguing that the company still owed them salaries and other benefits which it was struggling to pay.

In court papers seen by NewZimbabwe.com, ZBC argues that is was following an order from the Harare City Council’s health services department to repair the rundown property.

Hartley House Flats, situated along Tongogara avenue, have close to 60 housing units and are home to many current and former ZBC employees who live with their families.

The ZBC contends some of its former employees were given three months notices to vacate the premise long before they were even retrenched.

“On the 27th of February 2015, we gave the defendants a three months notice to vacate the property on the grounds that the property was required for the purpose of carrying out extensive renovations and that the nature of the extensive renovations would preclude human habitation.

“The defendant failed, refused and neglected to vacate the property,” said the ZBC.

The letter went on to say that the workers were given another notice and reminder November last year but they continued to occupy the property, making it impossible for the company to carry out the necessary renovations.

In their opposing affidavits, the former workers, through their lawyers, say they were only prepared to leave when ZBC paid them their dues, which include cash-in-lieu leave days, terminal benefits, and outstanding salaries from as far back as January 2014.

“ZBC never remitted any single cent to Old Mutual pension fund despite deducting the money from us,” one of the former employees said.

“Hartley house was bought with money from employees’ contributions.”

In August last year, the state owned broadcaster took advantage of a High Court interpretation of the country’s labour laws which allowed employers to terminate employee contracts on a three months notice without terminal benefits and it sent home more than 500 workers home.

As part of its cost cutting measures, the cash strapped broadcaster also closed its second television channel and a radio station in Gweru.

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