Employees of the Mbabane Municipal Council yesterday recorded victory against their employer at the Industrial Court.
The Industrial Court yesterday put on hold the Council’s move to offer the employees voluntary exit packages and placing a deadline for acceptance.
Industrial Court Judge Abande Dlamini issued an order stalling the Council’s move to implement a restructuring process that was to see employees taking Voluntary Exit Packages (VEP) or be retrenched.
This came after the Swaziland City Council Staff Association and the Workers Union Town Council filed an urgent application seeking an order stopping the Council from implementing the process.
The Council had written to the employees notifying them that those intending to apply for early exit packages should indicate before January 15, 2016 (next Friday).
The employees complained that the Council decided to move ahead with the process when there were still two cases on the issue that were pending before Industrial Court Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane.
They will now wait until the matters before Judge Nkonyane had been dealt with on January 25, 2016.
There was celebration among representatives of the employees as soon as Judge Dlamini pronounced the ruling stalling implementation of the process.
Judge Dlamini said his court could not determine a case that was still pending before another judge and in the same court.
“The Council cannot proceed with the restructuring process. The process is stayed pending finalisation of the two cases pending,” Judge Dlamini said.
The Council had claimed that the Voluntary Exit Packages were extended to all employees of the organisation regardless of portfolio, position or department, but said it reserved the right to accept or deny any request.
The Council’s Chief Executive Officer Gideon Mhlongo had said the organisation decided to proceed with the restructuring process within the available resources.
He had further said the process was done in order to minimise the number of employees who may have to be retrenched as a consequence of the restructuring.
Mhlongo in the management brief, also said management had conducted formal consultation meetings with the executives of the union and staff association leadership in which the full details of the VEP offering were presented with a view to solicit their contributions and inputs.
The brief stated that the consultation meetings were conducted on December 9 and 15, 2015 respectively, but the workers’ representatives allegedly failed to provide any tangible inputs and contributions. Instead, he said, the employees’ representatives raised other issues which had no relevance to the VEP offering presented.