LUMWANA Mining Limited has been dragged to court by seven expatriates for unlawful termination of employment.
The expatriates are also demanding payments of more than US$4 million as salaries and their benefits for the unexpired period of their contracts, which they allege were unlawfully and unfairly terminated.
Mark Tink, Teresa Mentz, Frank Dudley, Jon Morgan, Werner le Roux, Herman Prinsloo and Kevin Hanley are seeking a declaration that the termination of their
employment by Lumwana was unlawful, unfair and a nullity at law.
According to their statement of claim filed in the principal registry, the first plaintiff was at all material time resident at Plot no. S0036 College area, Solwezi while the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh plaintiffs were resident at Lumwana mining site in Solwezi.
They stated that they were on various dates but between July17, 2018 and July 13, 2019, engaged on fixed term contracts as expatriate employees with Lumwana.
Tink was engaged on a 24-month fixed term contract effective July 17, 2018 to July 17, 2020 but the said contract was terminated on July 12, 2019 by Lumwana.
Mentz was engaged on a 24-month fixed term contract effective January 1, 2019 to Dec 31, 2020 but had his contract terminated on July 12 this year by the defendant.
Dudley was engaged on a 24-month fixed term contract effective July 23, 2018 to July 23, 2020 but it was terminated on July 12 this year while Morgan was engaged on a 24-month fixed term contract effective May 1, 2019 to March 29, 2021 but was terminated on June 24, 2019.
Le Roux was engaged on 24-month fixed term contract effective March 29 this year to March 29, 2021 but the said contract was terminated on June 24, 2019 while Prisloo was engaged on a 24-month fixed term contract effective May 16, 2019 to May 16, 2021 with the said contract terminated on July 12 this year.
The seventh plaintiff, Hanley was engaged on a 24-months fixed term contract effective June 13 this year to June 13, 2021 but it was terminated on July 13, 2019.
They claimed that Lumwana terminated their contracts by invoking clause 19 .1.1 of the expatriate general terms and conditions which purport to allow termination without cause.
The complainants stated that they will, at trial, rely on the said conditions and their respective letters of termination and they would show that under the current Zambian law, termination at the instance of an employer can no longer be without cause or reasons.
The seven stated that would aver at trial that under current Zambian law termination without cause at the instance of an employer amounts to unlawful /unfair dismissal.
The plaintiffs stated that they will further show at trial that the quantum of damages for unlawful /unfair dismissal was based on the salaries the unlawfully
terminated employee would have received for unexpired period of the fixed term contract.
They stated that the plaintiffs and each one of them will show that after the said termination of their employment, Lumwana sent them letters requiring them to leave their homes within unreasonable time of as little as two days without justification or cause.
The seven contended that attempts were made by themselves to persuade Lumwana to allow them reasonable time in which to move their belongings and
families and also to settle matters with their domestic employees but Lumwana declined and literally forced them out of the site and also demanded that they leave the country without consideration of their domestic workers and the fact that some of them have children who are enrolled in Zambian schools.
“The plaintiffs will show that that the defendant’s conduct mentioned above amounts to harassment of the plaintiffs as the defendant ought to have known that the harsh manner in which it treated the plaintiffs caused anxiety and distress to themselves and their families” They stated.
The first plaintiff claims US$1,114,805.54, second US $910, 457.10, third US $209,176.37; fourth US$602, 047.70; fifth US$464,148.68; sixth US$513,233.49; and the seventh US$770,621.00 being the total of salaries and allowances for the unexpired period of their unlawfully /unfairly terminated contracts.
The plantiffs are seeking an order for an award of US $4,584,490.88, being total salaries and their benefits for the unexpired period of the plaintiffs contracts which were unlawfully/ unfairly terminated.
The seven want the Lusaka High Court to order Lumwana to pay them damages for unlawful termination of employment, damages for harassment, inconvenience and unfair treatment.
They are also seeking a full refund of termination benefits paid to domestic workers as a result of being forced off site and out of the country to be calculated in accordance with Zambian labour law, punitive damages, interest, costs and further other relief the court may deem fit.