NDOLA High Court judge Derrick Mulenga has declined to grant Kansanshi Mining PLC an interlocutory injunction to restrain Mineworkers Union of Zambia general secretary Joseph Chewe on fears that he will interfere or frustrate implementation of the Collective Agreement and the disputed new bonus scheme.
In March this year, Kanshanshi Mine Plc initially dragged the three mineworkers unions to court over a disputed bonus scheme.
MUZ was the first respondent while the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and the United Mineworkers Union (UMUZ) were the second and third respondents respectively.
NUMAW and MUZ were later removed from the case as they disassociated themselves and denied ever refusing to recognise a new collective agreement. MUZ remained the only union disputing the bonus scheme and even wrote to the labour commissioner seeking guidance over a dispute the union declared. Kansanshi Mine accused MUZ of disregarding the bonus scheme that was finalised and agreed by the committee constituted for that purpose in breach of clause 13 of the collective agreement.
The mining company then applied in the Ndola High Court for an interlocutory injunction to restrain MUZ through Chewe from interfering with, tampering or frustrating the implementation of the signed collective agreement for the period 2017-2019, on the payment of the agreed new bonus until the final determination of the matter.
The question, therefore, that arises is ‘What is it, that the applicant wishes to injunct the respondent from doing? If the applicant’s application is for injuncting the respondent from interfering, tampering or frustrating the implementation of the collective agreement for the period 2017-2919, this court would be justified to grant such an interlocutory injunction. However, whereas the bargain on the new bonus scheme is a creature of the main collective agreement, the addendum (on new bonus scheme agreement) is a stand-alone to the extent that the respondent is not a party…,
judge Mulenga said in his ruling.
He said the strides taken by the respondent to seek the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Social Services and or the Labour Commissioner could not be said to be in conflict with the main collective agreement.
“I have not found that if no interlocutory injunction is granted, the complainant would suffer irreparable damage (injury) that cannot be atoned for by damages. Further, that injunction against the respondent would result in denial of the respondent’s rights to engage the Minister of Labour and Social Services or the Labour Commissioner. The position of the respondent, who did not accede to the New Bonus Scheme formulated by the applicant, is different with that of the disjoined parties,” said judge Mulenga.