Government has with immediate effect suspended the operations of Alistair Logistics Group of companies in Solwezi district for contravening the labour laws.
Provincial Assistant Labour Commissioner, Harrison Mwale says the move follows the company’s variation of its employees contract, on a permanent and pensionable basis before expiration thereby forcing them to forfeit their gratuity.
Mr Mwale said this in Solwezi today when he served the company with a notice of suspension of further operation due to violation of labour laws.
“I refer to my conversation I had with your Group Human Resource Manager, Mr. Anthon Eppel late last year regarding your decision to force your workers to forfeit their gratuity when you decided to vary contract and place them on permanent and pensionable basis about a month before expiration.
“ This Ministry therefore, has suspended works for this company pursuant to section 10 (a) and (b) of the employment Code, Act No.3 of 2019 until further notice,” the letter read in part.
Despite several advice to the company to first let the contracts expire and pay workers gratuity before putting them on permanent and pensionable contract, it was discovered that workers were being intimidated and threatened to lose their jobs if they never consented to the proposal, Mr Mwale is quoted in the same statement.
The Labour Commissioner said any agreement made and based on the forfeiture of gratuity must be declared null and void.
Mr Mwale said the notice is with immediate effect and will remain so until all the workers are paid their gratuity, adding that during this period all workers will stay home and on full pay until remedial measures are complied with.
“Further pursuant to section 133 (1) (f) of the employee Code, Act no.3 of 2019, we hereby, impose on your company a financial penalty of 200,000 penalty units equivalent to K60,000 and note that you may wish to appeal to the high court against this administrative sanction within 30 days of receipt of this sanction,” he said.
A company employee who sought anonymity said everything has been left in the hands of management to associate with the ministry of labour and social security over the matter.
And the employees’ representative, Kelvin Chashele, , a boiler maker, thanked the department of labour and social security for the move.
“This move has come at a right time, we were being forced to do things which we were not supposed to by the company, so we are really grateful to government for coming to our aid,” he said.
The Department was acting on complaints received from the workers by the company’s decision to vary the contract, backdate it to 2020 and place them on permanent and pensionable basis about a month before expiration and forcing them to forfeit their gratuity.