THE Lusaka High Court has entered a judgement in default of appearance and defence in favour of 210 employees of Carnival Furnishers (Zambia) Limited who sued the company seeking a declaration that they have been made redundant, and further, a redundancy pay amounting to over K10 million.
This is according to a judgement in default of appearance and defence signed by High Court Judge Gertrude Chawatama on February 16, 2021.
“The defendant not having entered appearance or filed a defence herein, it is this day adjudged that judgement in default of appearance and defence be and is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant (Carnival Furnishers Zambia Limited) for the following liquidated demand endorsed on the writ of summons: Outstanding salaries for December, 2020, in the sum of K1,611,980.11; outstanding leave pay in the sum of K6,191,430.07; redundancy pay equivalent to two months’ basic pay for each completed year service in the sum of K10,308,942.52; gratuity equivalent to 25 per cent of annual basic pay in the sum of K1,288,617.12, costs,” read the default judgement.
In this matter, Mukena Mulonda and 209 others also wanted, among other claims, an order of injunction restraining Carnival Furnishers (Zambia) Limited by itself, its directors or agents from directly or indirectly dealing with, trespassing, mortgaging, charging, using, disposing of or creating an interest in property and assets belonging to the company, including stock- furniture, among others, in the company’s shops in Zambia before determination of the matter.
According to a statement of claim, 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 (plaintiffs).
They added that from September, 2020, to-date, Carnival Furnishers has 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 have 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 would aver that the company intends to sell all its stock and defraud them of their December salaries and terminal benefits.
They also wanted 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.
The plaintiffs also wanted, among others, gratuity equivalent to 25 per cent of annual basic pay in the sum of K1,288,617.