Zisco workers demand outstanding salaries
By Munyaradzi Musiiwa
Ziscosteel workers have claimed that they are still reporting for duty despite an announcement by Finance and Economic Development Minister, Patrick Chinamasa during his 2016 budget presentation that the steel giant has terminated contracts for more than 1 500 workers on three months’ notice.
Finance Minister Chinamasa also announced that the Government would take over the integrated steelworks debt which effectively confirmed the collapse of the Essar deal consummated in September 2011 in an initial transaction worth $750 million.
The workers have demanded that the Government must follow proper procedures when terminating contracts as stipulated by the Labour Act and also emphasised that there was a need for Government to pay their outstanding salaries before the workers are offloaded.
Zisco Joint Workers Union chairman Mr Benedict Moyo said workers were still reporting for duty as they were yet to be engaged by the company’s management on the way forward.
However, there were no workers going to the company premises since most of the engineering departments have been closed down while some workers last reported for duty more than two years ago.
“We are yet to sit with management on the way forward and as it stands the status quo still remains. We only heard of that development in the newspapers and on radio but nothing on the ground has changed. As I am speaking to you right now, I am at work,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha were fruitless as his mobile phone was unreachable. Soon after the announcement of the national budget, Minister Bimha told Sunday News that there “is a programme or plan which the board and management put together” which would be briefed to the workers.
Ziscosteel employees have not received their salaries since 2008 when the company ceased operations and only started to receive allowances when Essar diluted the Government shareholding in the steel company.
Employees of the steel company are owed a combined $250 million in salary arrears and Government has moved in to take over the Ziscosteel debt in order to make the company “more attractive” to potential suitors. Sunday News