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Former Zimplow workers approach court over retrenchment

Former Zimplow workers have dragged the company to court querying the compensation benefits they were given when they were retrenched in 2015.

Group chief executive, Zondi Kumwenda
Group chief executive, Zondi Kumwenda

The group of 57 former workers approached the High Court arguing that they had been deprived of some of their dues that were however, offered to another batch of workers that was axed after them.

Some of the former employees who were previously employed by Bulawayo Steel Products before the company merged with Zimplow are also concerned their compensation did not cover for the days they were employed by that company.

The grouping revealed that efforts to engage the company had hit a brick wall hence they had no option but to approach the court. One of the representatives of the workers, Mr Christopher Mpala said while the second batch of workers who were retrenched by Zimplow in 2015 managed to agree terms before being made to sign papers, the company had forced down its terms on them.

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“Most of us were just sent letters with terms to sign and return to the company and not given an option to sit down and engage the company and agree as what happened with the other group. We believe there were some miscalculations that were done and in regards to us who were former BSP workers there are benefits we believe accrued to us but we did not receive them,” he said.

A letter the group sent to Zimplow in June, 2017 reads: “We, as former BSP workers, are seeking clarification on how our pensions were worked out (calculated) as we were co-opted from BSP to Zimplow. It will be good if we got a clearer and satisfactory explanation or at least a reconciliatory statement to show how figures were arrived at. When we got our pensions the major questions that all of us had was, ‘How were these figures calculated’.

“A simple letter informing an employee about his or her benefits deposited into the account does not carry the weight that is required, (i.e. does not explain the details that one may necessarily want). For the benefit of everyone it will be a good thing to give us final statements indicating how our contributions, especially the ones from BSP have been incorporated.”

Another representative, Mr Paul Ngwenya said while they acknowledge having signed letters detailing compensation received, they later gained knowledge which made them feel they should have been given more.

“What we simply want is to be told how these calculations were made because we feel we did not get all our dues. The company did not negotiate in good faith. The truth is the company owes us some money and it was not fair to be kicked out like that after serving for 37 years like some of us. The company does not want to listen to us and we hope the courts will hear our plea,” he said.

Efforts to contact the company were not successful, but sources said the company was defending the matter in court.  Sunday News.