JAWUZ loses strike action appeal

THE Judiciary and Allied Workers Union of Zambia says the decision to throw out their application to quash an injunction against their plans for strike action has a negative impact on the workers’ enjoyment.

JAWUZ deputy secretary general Matthews Mwale said the workers have been demoralised by the path taken by the Government, being the employer, to gag them over demands for improved pay and better working conditions in the New Year.

“We have just been served with the ruling by the court and they have upheld the injunction which was granted, and all we can do is await the hearing of the main matter in January 2016.

“Now, this decision has a negative impact on the workers who will not enjoy the fruits of salary increments and new working conditions until the matter is heard,” he said.

Yesterday, the Industrial Relations Court upheld an earlier decision granted to the Attorney General and the Registrar of the High Court to stop plans to take a ballot and /or strike action by the judiciary unionised workers.

Industrial Relations Court Justice Mathew Chisunka in his ruling said allowing the workers to take a ballot would not be in accordance with the law and had the potential to cause anarchy against public interest.

“Given the foregoing, and bearing in mind that the grant of an interlocutory injunction is an exercise of the court’s discretion which must be exercised judiciously at all times, I am of the view that the applicant’s (Attorney General on behalf of the Judiciary) application has merit and it will be just and convenient to allow it,” he said.

He explained that the restraining order was to allow for the law that provided for the prevention and peaceful resolution of disputes between employees and their workers which promoted industrial harmony.

“The Act provides that the court shall be bound by the rules of evidence in civil or criminal proceedings, but the main object of the court shall be to do substantial justice between the parties before it.

“What this means is that the Industrial Relations Court is not bound to rigid rules of evidence and procedure but adopts a flexible approach,” Justice Chisunka said.

He said there was no provision in the law that prohibited one party from exercising the options granted in Section 78(1) that the applicant could not lawfully curtail the respondent from the action in question.

JAWUZ declared a dispute following failed negotiations of salary increments and improvement of conditions of service for the members.

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