INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI
NO. IRC 20 OF 2005
Zibelu Banda (Ms) Chairperson
Nyirenda A (Ms);
Assistant Registrar, High Court (Mzuzu Registry)
Majengo; Acting Regional
Human Resources Officer
The applicant was employed
as a seasonal worker. At the end of each season he would receive his
wages and be let free. During the
off season period he was free to
work anywhere for any employer. At the beginning of each season he
was free to ask for employment
and the respondent was free to either
employ him or not. This cause of action was brought about because of
a letter which the applicant
received advising him that his
employment contract had been upgraded to permanent employee
(confirmed). The applicant enquired
to have further details from
management. He was informed that the letter was a mistake and that no
action would be taken on it.
Indeed the status of the applicant
remained as before:- seasonal worker.
applicant claimed that he was unfairly dismissed. He said he was not
paid notice pay, severance allowance, gratuity, leave pay,
increments and compensation for unfair dismissal. The respondent was
able to show that the applicant received all his dues
some of the
dues he received after he had complained at Malawi Carer, a civil
society organization that handles human rights violations.
respondent averred that the applicant was not dismissed as his
employment as seasonal worker depended on availability of work
Seasonal employment is
common in Malawi especially in the agricultural industry. During peak
period in the agricultural calendar
more human resource is required
to buy agricultural products from farmers but also to sell
agricultural inputs like fertilizers.
After this buying season there
is no requirement for additional staff hence they are shed off. The
employment is terminated by
completion of a task. This is a contract
to perform specific task.
employer is not required to give notice under such contracts neither
is the employer required to give reason for the termination,
as it is effected at the completion of the task. In this case the
court heard that the termination was in accordance with
terms applicable to a seasonal worker.
The court finds that the
respondent acted fairly in this matter. There are no compelling
reasons for the court to interfere with
the decision of the
respondent. The applicant had his services terminated at the
completion of a task. He was paid all his dues.
There is no
sustainable claim. The matter is dismissed in its entirety.
aggrieved by this decision is at liberty to appeal to the High Court
within 30 days of this date. Appeal lies in matters
of law or
jurisdiction, see, section 65 (2) Labour Relations Act 1996.
this 30th day of January 2007 at MZUZU.