Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
A Weekend duty dispute pitting Delta Beverages (Pvt) Ltd and its more than 100 workers, spilled into the Labour Court yesterday with the workers contesting the company’s decision to consider Saturdays and Sundays as normal working days. In this system, a worker is not paid double if he or she reports for duty over a weekend.

The matter, which was brought before Labour Court Judge Justice Phildah Muzofa, seeks the court to determine whether it was lawful for the company to convert weekend to normal working days.

Advocate Tawanda Zhuwarara, instructed by Musoni Masaire Law Chambers argued the matter for the workers, while Adv Sylvester Hashiti instructed by Dube, Manikai and Hwacha appeared for Delta Beverages.

Adv Zhuwarara argued that the employer broke the agreement entered into by the parties in terms of a legal instrument by forfeiting his clients’ “off day” that is Sunday and converted it into a normal working day by introducing a four-shift configuration in its various departments where the appellants were working.

“The resting day for the appellants has to be Sunday as per the agreement and past practice,” argued Adv Zhuwarara.

“The appellants are entitled to their Sunday as day off. The action by Delta, argued Adv Zhuwarara, to take away Sunday was not in conformity with the statutory instrument’s fundamental tenets of advancing social justice at the work place.

But Adv Hashiti disagreed, saying the collective bargaining agreement between the parties clearly provided for an off day on a day other than Sunday.

“Reliance by the appellants on past practice will not suffice to change the clear terms of the collective bargaining agreement, which constitute a contract between the parties.”

Adv Hashiti said Delta’s action was necessitated by exigencies at the work place and as such fully complied with the requirements of the law.

Justice Muzofa reserved judgment to a later date after hearing full arguments of the matter.