OVER 200 employees of Carnival Furnishers (Zambia) Limited have sued the company in the Lusaka High Court seeking a declaration that they have been made redundant and that a redundancy pay amounting to over K10 million be paid to them.
The 210 employees have stated that the company intends to sell all its stock and defraud them of their December, 2020, salaries and terminal benefits.
They are, therefore, further demanding outstanding salaries for December, 2020, in the sum of K1,611,980, plus commission and outstanding leave pay of K6,191,430.
Mukena Mulonda and 209 others also want an order of injunction restraining Carnival, among other claims.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, the plaintiffs stated that Carnival Furnishers Zambia was carrying on business as a furniture and consumer goods company with 24 shops in Zambia.
The 210 plaintiffs stated that in March, 2020, the company stopped remitting gratuity contributions for them.
They added that from September, 2020 to-date, Carnival Furnishers had been closing down its shops without notice to them.
The plaintiffs stated that they would report for work only to be informed that the shops were being closed.
“The company administers its payroll from its regional office in South Africa, which office sends salary schedules to Zambia on or around the 14th of every month so that the workers can be paid their salaries,” read the claim.
“On or around December 19, 2020, one of the defendant’s directors Mr Balagurumurthie Pillay, issued a directive to the payroll administrator in South Africa not to send out salary schedules for December to the branch managers in Zambia, as a result the plaintiffs have not been paid their salaries for December, 2020.”
The plaintiffs added that the said Pillay further directed the company’s landlords to close all the company shops despite the fact that the defendant’s customers still had goods in the shops, which were the subject of existing Hire Purchase Agreements.
They stated that the said landlords had begun to levy distress for rent arrears due from the company and that the bailiffs had begun to auction the goods seized.
The plaintiffs stated that they will aver that the company intends to sell all of its stock and defraud them of their December salaries and terminal benefits.
They are now seeking an order of injunction restraining the defendant’s landlords in all sites in Zambia where the defendant’s shops are located from levying distress for rent or disposing of the defendant’s property in any way before determination of this action.
They also want a declaration that they have been made redundant and redundancy pay equivalent to two months’ basic pay for each complete year of service in the sum of K10,308,942 be paid.
The plaintiffs also want gratuity equivalent to 25 per cent of annual basic pay in the sum of K1,288,617, among others.