Workers up in arms against Amtec over terminal benefits

Workers up in arms against Amtec over terminal benefits
Published: 22 July 2015 (1171 Views)
Over 20 employees' of Amtec in Mutare disengaged in 2013 following the company's takeover by Sambiri Investments are at cross roads after their former employer refused to meet their agreed exit packages.

In November 2013, Amtec transferred the garage that trade and its stock to Sambiri new employment contracts.

The employees alleged Amtec misrepresented facts in works council meetings held preceding the transfer; that there was continuity of employment for the workers, wherein actual fact management was aware that the property's franchisor; ZUVA Petroleum, had engaged Sambiri investments on a new dispensation.

"It all started when the new dealer, Sambiri Investments re-engaged all of the workers after a probation and we realised that the changeover from Amtec was not a transfer of undertaking as our management was putting it out," said one of the workers on condition of anonymity.

Documents in possession of the workers highlighting deliberations between Sambiri and Amtec Motors indicated that it was agreed the latter was obliged to pay all outstanding amounts due; including un remitted statutory dues as well as their terminal benefits before starting on new employment.

Apparently, this led the workers to drag their former employer before Arbitration for unfair termination of employment where they claimed a total of $242,608.54 in exit packages.

An Arbitrator with the National Employment Council (NEC) for the Motor Industry based in Mutare, C. T Dururu, presided over the matter and passed an Award that workers', Sambiri Investments and Amtec should convene a meeting to ascertain the employment position of workers.

In a meeting held late last year, Amtec Motors changed goals posts and maintained that the company could only consider giving terminal benefits to employees who would have terminated their employment with Sambiri Investments.

"We all received letters from Chandahwa who is Amtec Dealer Principal recalling us to resume work supposedly on the 2nd of January this year. The company highlighted they had resolved so claiming they were not capacitated to pay our terminal benefits'," said one of the workers.

Apparently, Amtec subsequently served all the employees with dismissal letters for failing to report for duty.

The workers said they declined to comply with the letter maintaining that they were entitled to their terminal benefits in line with the Labour Act Section 12D, 16 and 25 A. When contacted for a comment, Amtec Dealer Principal based in Mutare, Eransim Ndongwe confirmed the case saying the company had resolved to reengage the workers since it never intended to retrench.

"As a company, we avoided unemployment of the workers by facilitating their reengagement with Sambiri Investments. Their argument was technical that the new dealer placed them on probation therefore they were taken as new employees.

"Amtec made a position that if the workers are aggrieved with the new dealer, they should come back to reengage with Amtec. It's a ransom for them because we are making an effort to avoid unemployment in the country that way. There is no law which bars a company to reengage its workers even after 10 years," he said.

- Stephen Jakes

Tags: Amtec, Workers,
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