By Chipo Musoko, HARARE, June 15 (The Source) – Chinese diamond miner Anjin Investments has filed a chamber application seeking a stay of execution against a judgment issued by the Labour Court to reinstate 1,100 employees it fired three years ago while it seeks to appeal the ruling, The Source has established.
In 2012, the company dismissed 1,500 workers who had gone on strike demanding salary increases.
The Labour Court on May 29 ordered the company to reinstate the employees after they successfully challenged the dismissal in court, demanding reinstatement without loss of salary and benefits or damages in lieu of reinstatement.
The court had noted that Anjin had failed to file a notice of response to an appeal by workers on time resulting in the court entering a default judgment against the company.
Anjin applied for postponement of the matter when the parties appeared before the court on March 19, alleging that the company secretary had not been given the notice of appeal.
A copy of the application made by the company’s lawyers, Mutumbwa, Mugabe and Partners dated June 4, and seen by The Source on Monday, Anjin indicated that it was applying for a stay of execution of the judgment pending an appeal.
“….an application of this nature should be done simultaneously or preceding an appeal. In casu this present application has had to be filed before the appeal as there was need to brief an advocate for his opinion on this matter as a whole,” read part of the application.
“Again this court is not one of strict procedure and it is my strong belief that the granting of the order sought is in the better interest of justice pending the filing and determination of the appeal.”
The lawyers for the workers, Munyaradzi Giwsai and Partners in their response to the application dated June 8, asked the company lawyers to withdrew their application within five working days because it was “fatally defective” as it was not provided for in the Labour Act.
“Furthermore, Section 92 F (3) refers to applications for leave to appeal and not for stay of execution,” read the letter, adding that that failure by the company to withdraw its application “will leave us with no option but to oppose the application and in taking that route we will pray for costs on a higher scale of legal practitioner and client.”
Anjin, one of the seven firms licenced to mine the vast government-controlled Marange diamond field, is a joint venture between China’s Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co and Zimbabwean state entities and began operations in 2009.
The mine, which over three years ago claimed to be the largest producer of diamonds in the world, has been facing viability problems and is among diamond firms that have since 2013, reported diminishing alluvial diamond deposits in Marange.
Recently the mine lost its bid to stop the auctioning of its property worth $800,000 by former workers after the High Court dismissed its urgent chamber application against an arbitration ruling that gave the award. The company’s 200 former security guards had filed a $837, 506, 22 claim against their ex-employer whom they accused of contractual breaches.