Chinese Based Telecommunications giant ZTE Uganda is the latest company to face a Judicial arm with a legal battle with 7 of its ex-employees. A pinch of years back, ZTE was shutting down in most of its active markets including Uganda, and so, the chopping of relevant employees became a prerequisite for resumed operations.
Apparently, the sacked group of workers were attached to ZTE Uganda as technical support technicians and engineers to partner telecom companies in different departments. Among these, 2 are female and 4 are male namely.
- Hermenegild Sseyiga
- Geoffrey Sserwanga
- Emmanuel Okurut Omoding
- Patrick Okoth
- Damalie Nalumu
- Ambrose Ayebare
- Samuel Mulumba.
Through their legal team, the sacked employees have filed a lawsuit against the telecommunications giant for wrongful and unlawful dismissal from work on top of breach of contract, breach of trust, breach of confidence, injury to reputation, financial loss, aggravated and special damages on their careers.
Submitted Court documents show that the group was pouched by the company from telecommunication and IT firms to join the newly established Uganda wing of ZTE despite a low tune of brand name visibility since the brand’s elementary stages.
But with promises of offering a long, enjoyable, stable, and rewarding career. The group was lured into joining ZTE as a multi-national giant with a now layed footprint in the Pearl of Africa which only led to unwarned and uncertain dismissal in the end.
As per the lawsuit, the complainants were shown an exit door by the ZTE Uganda Human resource Manager on 8th June 2017 without any prior notice nor warning despite no wrong or breach of contract done by the employees.
It is alleged that the termination was procured by dishonest, misrepresentation, fraud, and illegality. And so, this filled a tone of bad faith on part of the company and the sacked employees in breach of their employment agreement.
A Response from ZTE Uganda
When alerts of a lawsuit reached ZTE Uganda, the company denied any of the stated by the employees, but simply linked them to their Mobile telecom partners that outsource certain human resource from it, and so, the telco employees in charge of the sated functions were automatically called back by the company.
As per the ZTE statement, it denies any poaching of the stated employees, but simply sourced them from the partner sides for inhouse duties. Furthermore, the company inked that their employment contracts had a termination clause which was taken into effect.
In the course of a restricting exercise given the unstable business environment faced by the company then, the complainant positions were rendered redundant by the company.
Additionally, as per Court documents, ZTE Uganda Limited merged several positions during the restructuring process, and instead, it ignored the termination clause embedded in the employee contracts where the company is required to provide a 1-month prior notice and pay a salary in line with the notice.
Currently, the lawsuit is pending active judgement before the industrial court challenging a decision made by the labor officer that awarded about UGX 300 Million to the sacked employees.
The labor officer ruled that the group was wrongfully terminated by ZTE Uganda and so, the company was warranted to compensate them for the unwarned dismissal.
In the meantime, all complainant terminal benefits have been cleared as provided by the law and contract inter parties, but a pending judgement stands to decide ZTE’s fate on clearing the sacked employees.