Court name
Industrial Relations Court
Case number
IRC Matter 44 of 2000

Betenigo v BCA Bestobell (MW) Ltd (IRC Matter 44 of 2000) [2006] MWIRC 90 (19 July 2006);

Law report citations
Media neutral citation
[2006] MWIRC 90

IN THE
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI




PRINCIPAL
REGISTRY




MATTER
NO. IRC 44 OF 2000




BETWEEN




BETENIGO………………….….…………………………………………
APPLICANT




AND



BCA BESTOBELL (MW) LIMITED.…………….…………………..RESPONDENT






CORAM: R.
Zibelu Banda (Ms); Chairperson


Applicant; Present


Respondent; Absent
without excuse


Gowa; Official
Interpreter






RULING


Disciplinary
action-Suspension-For complaining against the employer-Does not
constitute valid reason for imposing disciplinary action.




Facts


In this case the applicant
was suspended from duties without pay on 21 December 1999 allegedly
because the applicant had threatened
to sue the respondent for
unlawful arrest and loss of property due to a robbery at the
applicant’s house during the night that
the applicant was detained
at a police station at the alleged instance of the respondent or
their officer.




The
respondent did not appear in court to respond to the applicant’s
allegation despite the fact that the respondents were served
with a
notice of hearing. There was no reason given for the respondent’s
failure to attend court. The matter therefore had to
proceed in
accordance with section 74 of the Labour Relations Act.




The
suspension was a result not of misconduct or incapacity but because
the applicant was contemplating legal proceedings against
his
employer involving allegations of violations of laws in particular
personal liberty and property rights. This is not a valid
reason for
taking disciplinary action against an employee.



Finding


The court finds that the
suspension of the applicant was without any reasonable grounds in law
and that it was unfair labour practice
contrary to section 31 of the
Constitution.






Order


The court orders that the
respondent pays the applicant his salary arrears from December 1999
to date of this judgment at the rate
of K3 700-00 per month. The
total award is: MK296 000-00. The court further orders the
respondent to reinstate the applicant forthwith unless they have a
valid reason for not reinstating
him in which case the respondent
must compensate the applicant for termination of services. Both
orders are with immediate effect.
The money to be paid into the
Industrial Relations Court.




The
applicant had testified that his salary was MK6 500-00, but this
amount was not pleaded nor was it proved. The court therefore

considers MK3 700-00 as a true reflection of the applicant’s salary
because it appeared in his pleadings.




The
applicant claimed leave grant but this amount and claim did not
appear in the statement of claim hence it has not been considered

because it was not pleaded.




Any party
aggrieved by this decision is at liberty to appeal to the High Court
within 30 days of this date. Appeal lies only on
matters of law or
jurisdiction; section 65 (2) Labour Relations Act 1996.




Pronounced
in Open Court
this 20th day of July 2006 at BLANTYRE.






Rachel
Zibelu Banda

CHAIPERSON.