The Industrial Relations Case (IRC) in Blantyre was on Tuesday forced to adjourn a case in which eight employees that were abruptly fired by Vale Logistics of Brazil dragged their employer to the court for alleged unfair dismissals.
Lawyer representing the eight, but are now seven after one of them died, did not show up at the court and was reportedly in self-isolation after he got in contact with a person who tested positive to Covid-19, according to Christopher Chiumia, a representative of the complainants.
Chiumia, frustrated that the matter has been in court for six years now after their dismissals in October 2014, asked IRC to allow that they proceed with hearing of the matter with or without their lawyer.
But deputy acting chairperson of IRC Innocent Nebi reasoned with the complainants that they are better off represented by their lawyer, asking them to accept adjournment.
They accepted and Nebi adjourned the case to a date to be communicated.
Chiumia, before the adjournment, told the court that they were disturbed because their lawyer did not communicate to the court about his absence or about the intended adjournment and were afraid the court was to dismiss the case, having done so previously.
He said after the matter was dismissed previously after miscommunication by some two lawyers that were previously representing them, they had to take necessary steps to have it restored.
Chiumia said it was for this reason they wanted to proceed in absence of their lawyer.
Lawyer representing Vale Logistics, Mabvuto Hara arrived at the court after the case was already adjourned.
Vale Logistics is the company Malawi government involved on trans-Malawi railway project. that will transport 18 million tonnes of coal from Mozambique.
Created and built by multidisciplinary construction company Mota Engil Africa, the railway line is part of the Nacala Development Corridor that seeks to benefit several Southern African Development Community countries, including Malawi.
Distances can be cut in transporting Mozambican coal by taking cargo through neighbouring Malawi. Mozambique has some of the world’s largest untapped coal reserves.
Malawi government reportedly gave out a bit too much in the initial deal, due to lack of negotiating skills as the reason for the extent of the exemption
In the raw deal, Malawi gave away corporate tax calculated at 30 percent and value added tax (VAT) at 16.5 percent, gave a number of other tax exemptions, and “technically accepted to forego potential foreign exchange earnings”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :