THE National Employment Council for the Insurance and Pensions Industry (NECIPI) recently set aside the move by the Zimbabwe Electricity Pension Fund (ZEPF) to retrench one of their employees, describing her dismissal as a legal nullity.
Victoria Dube was engaged in 2010 by the power utility fund on an open contract.
This year, ZEPF then took a unilateral decision to terminate Dube’s contract, putting on the table a retrenchment package arrived at without the input of the retrenchee.
With the assistance of her lawyers, Sinyoro and Partners, Dube appealed against both the retrenchment and terminal benefits, calling them unprocedural.
Albeit the Respondent, Dube’s misgivings, the employer proceeded with the retrenchment and packages hearing in the absence of both Dube and her lawyers.
The hearing resolved that the decisions to retrench and quantification of the package for Dube by management was final.
Upon receipt of the final decision by the Zesa pensions authority, Dube approached her lawyers to challenge the employer’s decision at the NECIPI tribunal, which ruling she claimed was defective and unlawful.
In particular, Dube cited victimisation as reason for her retrenchment, saying she had in her possession damning information on corruption by senior management – including the General Manager – posted on social media.
Dube said there was also an intention to appoint to her post a relative of one of the senior employees.
During proceedings at the tribunal, Dube’s claims of why she got retrenched were, however, thrown out for lack of merit.
In her favour, though, the tribunal ruled that Dube had been unfairly treated after the employer failed to give her a termination date, including an opportunity to participate in determining her termination package.
In what is likely to cause disquiet at ZEPF, the pensions fund was ordered to reinstate Dube with all her benefits.