Staff drag Chinese telecom firm ZTE to court for illegal termination

By our reporter

Telecom firm, ZTE Uganda Limited has been embroiled in a legal battle with seven of its former employees who are claiming compensation citing illegal termination from work.

The sacked group comprised of workers who were attached to ZTE Uganda Limited by MTN Uganda Limited to work in different capacities as specialised persons. 

The claimants include;  Hermenegild Sseyiga, Geoffrey Sserwanga, Emmanuel Okurut Omoding, Patrick Okoth, Damalie Nalumu, Ambrose Ayebare and Samuel Mulumba.

Through their lawyers, the claimants are against the telecom firm for wrongful and or unlawful dismissal, breach of contract and breach of trust and confidence, injury to reputation and or defamation, financial loss, aggravated and exemplary damages as well as special damages.

Court documents show that the group were pouched by the company to join their newly established business in Uganda despite its undeveloped brand name from its very elementary stages with promises of offering him a long enjoyable, stable and rewarding career.

“…having believed the respondent’s representatives and promises opted to end his employment with MTN Uganda limited and under an agreements, we joined the newly established respondent company on a permanent contract,” reads the complaint.

According to the complaint, in no doubt a complete twist of events and despite the complainants having done no wrong on his part whatsoever, on or about June 8 2017, ZTE Uganda Limited’s human resource manager relieved them of their duties.

It is alleged that the termination was procured by dishonest, misrepresentation, fraud and illegality and that under undue duress with complete bad faith on the part of the company and his employees in breach of employment agreement.

However, ZTE Uganda Limited denies any wrong doing but contend that MTN Uganda outsourced certain functions to it and consequently all MTN employees in charge of those functions were automatically taken over by the company.

The company contends that the employment contracts interparties had a termination clause and that in course of restructuring exercise, the complainants’ position was rendered redundant.

The matter currently pending judgment before the Industrial Court is an appeal challenging a decision of the labour officer that awarded about Shs300 million to the sacked employees.

The labour officer ruled that the group was wrongfully terminated by ZTE which warranted the company to compensate them.

According to court documents, ZTE Uganda Limited merged several positions during the restructuring process and it invoked the termination clause embedded in the contract which required the company to give a one month’s notice or pay a salary in lieu of notice.

It is alleged that the complainants were paid all his terminal benefits as provided for by the law and the contract interparties and that he is not owed any money.

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