258 Parmalat Zambia Employees sue Company Over Name Change to Lactalis

258 Parmalat Zambia Employees sue Company Over Name Change to Lactalis

OVER 250 employees of Parmalat Zambia Limited have dragged the company to the Lusaka High Court seeking a declaratory order that its
change of name from “Parmalat Zambia Limited” to “Lactalis Zambia Limited” is a sham intended to evade the employment rights due to them.
Allan Chilufya Kapyanga and 258 others have also sued Lactalis Zambia
Limited.
The plaintiffs are seeking a declaration and order that their secret transfer from Parmalat Zambia Limited to Lactalis Zambia Limited without their consent is null and void for breach of Section 28 of the Employment Code. ey also want a declaration and order that the acquisition of Parmalat
Zambia Limited by Lactalis Zambia Limited is a terminating event entitling them to payment of the redundancy packages and all accrued bene ts, among other claims.
In a statement of claim  led in the Lusaka High Court, June 3, this year, the plainti s stated that they were unionised employees of Parmalat
Zambia Limited, which had its registered o ce in Lusaka.
They explained that Parmalat Zambia Limited was a member of the Italian dairy giant Parmalat, and was therefore, a member of the Parmalat Group of Companies.
The plaintiffs added that Lactalis Zambia Limited was a member of the French Lactalis Group of Companies, whose holding company Lactalis was a French dairy giant based in France.
They stated that on March 23, 2011, Lactalis took over the Italian dairy giant Parmalat by way of business acquisition.
The plaintiffs stated that as a result of the business take-over, all the subsidiaries of Parmalat Group of Companies, which included Parmalat Zambia Limited, had been acquired and re-branded by Lactalis.
“Parmalat Zambia Limited was a member of the Parmalat Group of Companies of Italian nationality. By virtue of the business take-over of the Parmalat Group of Companies by Lactalis of France, all the subsidiaries of Parmalat Group of Companies, which included Parmalat Zambia Limited, have been acquired and re-branded by Lactalis to realign them to the business objectives of the new owners, which is the Lactalis Group of Companies,” read the statement of claim.
The plaintiffs further stated that in February, 2020, the said Lactalis Group, by way of business acquisition, took over Parmalat Zambia Limited, which had been masked or camou aged as a name change from “Parmalat Zambia Limited” to “Lactalis Zambia Limited”.
They stated that Parmalat Zambia Limited had purported to transfer them from their extinguished employer, Parmalat Zambia to Lactalis Zambia Limited, without their consent.
“The so-called name change from Parmalat Zambia Limited to Lactalis Zambia Limited is a sham intended to evade the employment rights due to the plainti s. In the meantime, Lactalis Zambia Limited has embarked on the policy of selectively declaring some employees redundant citing economic di culties as the reason for redundancy,” read the statement of claim further.
The plaintiffs stated that it was a mandatory statutory requirement to obtain their consent before they could be transferred to Lactalis Zambia Limited.
They are now seeking a declaratory order that the so-called name change from Parmalat Zambia Limited to that of Lactalis Zambia Limited, a member of the Lactalis Group of Companies, is a sham, and null and void for masking a corporate acquisition of Parmalat Zambia Limited by the said Lactalis Zambia Limited.
The plainti s also want an order for the payment of the redundancy packages and all accrued benefits for the period that they worked for Parmalat Zambia Limited and an order for payment of accrued leave days and pension benefits.
They further want an Interim Order of Injunction to restrain the defendants, their agents, employees or whosoever from interfering with their contracts of employment with Parmalat Zambia Limited and to maintain the
status quo until the conclusion of the
matter.