By Robert Tapfumaneyi
SIX former employees, demanding terminal benefits for unfair dismissal, have accused the MDC-led by Nelson Chamisa of duping them into signing an out of court settlement which then saw the party abandon its commitments.
Last year, the former workers were awarded a total of $250 000 at the High Court for unfair dismissal.
However, the MDC through its secretary general, Chalton Hwende in September 2019, approached the ex-employees and pleaded with them to agree to an out of court settlement. The party offered to pay 50% of the amount awarded within a month and agreements were signed.
According to the former employees, that is the last they heard from Hwende who has now turned aggressive and is not willing to engage the affected workers.
“Two of our colleagues have since died without getting their benefits and it is sad that the MDC is treating us like this. We thought the party would pay us after getting its parliamentary grant from Treasury at the end of last year, but we hear that the money was squandered on other things,” one of the ex-workers said.
Responding to the allegations, Hwende confirmed that the MDC received its grant from Treasury at the end of last year but said the former workers should approach his office and not the media.
“How does one ask for their money via a newspaper? If they want to follow up they must approach our treasurer or the SG’s office,” Hwende said.
David Coltart is the MDC Treasurer.
“Only one approached before we closed, she had submitted a wrong account and I referred her to our finance department. The other one could not go to our offices because he is out of the country. They must go to Harvest House and provide correct payment instructions. I authorised their payments last year.”
He could not explain why the other four employees had not been paid.
However the former employees dismissed Hwende’s claims as mere politicking.
“We had agreed that the party disburses the money into the trust account of our lawyer. So he is lying that we should give him our banking details. He has the banking details of our lawyers as they also need to be paid.
“We have used every means to engage him and get our money, but he is not forthcoming. With the rate of inflation, the money we are owed will be valueless soon.”