By Alois Vinga
THE High Court has ordered Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) workers not to proceed with plans for industrial action until an application they filed with the Supreme Court is finalised.
Court papers seen by The Financial Gazette this week show that the power utility’s employees intended to stage a demonstration to put pressure on management to honour a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached in 2012, which provided for salary increases across the board.
ZESA obtained an interdict to block the workers from embarking on the planned strike, forcing workers to seek High Court intervention to secure their right to strike.
High Court judge, Justice Clement Phiri, however, barred the workers from striking on the basis that they had an application before the Supreme Court, in which they wanted a ruling against the interdict.
According to court papers, ZESA has declined to honour the CBA on the basis that the utility’s employees were already highly paid and that if salaries were to be increased, there would be need for electricity tariffs hikes.
But the workers argued that the salary hikes were reached through a CBA and all companies in the energy sector, except ZESA, had complied and honoured the agreement.
The power utility reportedly owes workers over $100 million in outstanding salaries arising from the CBA.