FORMER Women for Change (WfC) executive Director Dr Emily Sikazwe has sued the organisation’s trustees for unpaid gratuity, salaries and allowances totalling K699,119.18.
According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, WfC had not settled gratuity from 2007 to 2014 and was also owing the plaintiff salaries and allowances for 2013 and 2014.
Dr Sikazwe previously served the NGO for 21 years under various contracts of service prior to joining the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ).
“The plaintiff served the defendant under various contracts of service. The plaintiff’s first contract was for a term of one year starting 19th January, 1993 wherein she was employed as executive secretary. The contract was renewed for further terms until November, 1996, wherein the plaintiff was elevated to the position of executive director and her conditions of service were revised in December 1996. On 17th February, 1998, the plaintiff was engaged on a two and half year contract in the same position as executive director, which contract ran from 1st June, 1997, to 31st December, 1999, subject to renewal. The contract of service introduced an entitlement to gratuity, which was to be computed at the rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay accumulated over the contract period. The plaintiff’s subsequent contracts up to the final contract that ran between 1st January, 2013, and 31st December, 2014, equally contained provisions relating to gratuity,” read the statement.
“On 10th February, 2009, defendant adjusted the plaintiff’s rate of gratuity upwards by five per cent, thereby, entitling the plaintiff to gratuity at the rate of 30 per cent for the duration of the contract, which contract was supposed to expire on 31st December, 2009. On 27th December, 2009, the defendant advised the plaintiff that her application to renew her contract had been approved for a further term of three years and was to run between 1st January, 2010, to 31st December, 2012, on the same terms and conditions as the previous contract. On 2nd January, 2013, the defendant advised the plaintiff that her contract of employment had been renewed for a period of two years and her contract reflected that her gratuity would be computed at the rate of 25 per cent of the basic pay accumulated over the contract period.”
According to the statement, the plaintiff in 2017 demanded settlement of her outstanding allowances, but was only given response in December of 2018 that she was owed K690,804, but that the organisation lacked sufficient funds to liquidate the demand at once.
Despite numerous correspondence between the defendant and the plaintiff relating to the settlement of the outstanding dues, the defendant failed and/or neglected to settle the plaintiffs dues, which, as at September, 2020, were outstanding in the sum of K699,119.18.
The plaintiff, however, demands that the arrears be paid with interest, costs and any other relief the Court may deem fit.
“An order of payment of the sum of K699,119.18 being salary arrears and outstanding allowances for the period between 2013 to 2014 and unpaid gratuity for the period between 2009 and 2014; interest of the said sum pursuant to section 4 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Cap 74, order 36, rule 8 of the High Court rules, Cap 27 and section 2 of the Judgements Act, cap 81; costs and any other relief the Court may deem fit,” read the statement.