Bottling outfit gets court relief in industrial dispute

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THE Court of Appeal has allowed Coca Cola Kwanza Tanzania Limited to challenge orders for payments of billions of shillings to its former 104 employees, who were retrenched in 2003.

Justice Mbarouk Mbarouk ruled in favour of the soft drinks company after granting an application for extension of time with which to apply for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision by the High Court in a labour dispute.

“I am of the view that the applicant (Coca Cola Kwanza Tanzania Limited) has shown good cause to exercise my discretion conferred upon me under the (Court of Appeal) Rules so as to grant her extension of time. For that reason, the applicant is hereby granted extension of time as prayed,” he said.

Referring to the affidavit filed by the company to support the application in question, the justice noted that the delay in applying for leave to appeal was caused by the High Court’s Labour Division by failure to handle to Coca Cola Kwanza Tanzania Limited, names of the retrenched employees, the respondents.

“From the above observation, it is evident in my view that the applicant has been in court immediately from a time when she lost her case.

Since the applicant has shown meticulousness in pursuing his appeal, I am of the view that the applicant’s prayer be granted,” he declared. Facts show that Coca Cola Kwanza Tanzania Limited conducted a retrenchment exercise on August 30, 2003, involving 104 employees.

The respondents were not satisfied with the applicant’s exercise and filed an industrial dispute before the defunct Industrial Court of Tanzania. Judge Ibrahim Mipawa, then Deputy Chairman of the Court, ruled in favour of the respondents and awarded them 24 months’ salary each.

The applicants were dissatisfied by the decision and filed a revision before the Court, which reduced the award from 24 months’ salaries to 12.

Still aggrieved, the applicant appealed before the full bench of the High Court, which dismissed the appeal. Undaunted, the applicant decided to cross over to the Court of Appeal for further adjudication on the matter. However, the applicant’s appeal before the Court of Appeal lies with leave.

On May 5, 2015, Justice Nathalia Kimaro granted the applicant extension of time to file leave to appeal. But that application was “struck out” on October 10, 2016, because she had failed to exhibit names of all the respondents.

Coca Cola Kwanza Tanzania Limited once tried to apply for leave to appeal to the Court of Appeal, but the High Court turned it down. On October 12, 2016, the applicant wrote to the High Court Labour Division requesting to be availed with all the respondents’ names.

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