By Patrick Chitumba
Gweru-based shoe manufacturer Bata Shoe Company has said that its ability to maintain a huge workforce is being threatened by the devastating impact of Covid-19.
Bata is one of the Midlands companies that opened at the start of Level 2 lockdown with skeleton staff in line with Covid-19 rules and regulations.
The giant company has more than 1 500 employees but just 150 have resumed work to enable the company to maintain social distanc and mitigate against the spread of the virus
Bata Zimbabwe managing director, Mr Simon Mutisya, said they were considering trimming staff, a decision that will depend on how hard the knock from the pandemic will be on operations.
He said the company resumed operations under the on-going lockdown period with about 15 percent of its full workforce.
In an interview on the sidelines of the handover of personal protective equipment to Midlands Provincial Covid-19 taskforce, Mr Mutisya said the company`s raw material supply from South Africa has been affected.
“We need to protect the human resource as much as possible because Covid-19 is threatening people,” he said.
Mr Mutisya said when the company resumed production, it started with gumboots production which are part of the Covid-19 protective clothing.
“We got authorisation to work with limited employees and we have 150 and we decided to fous mainly on gumboots production which are part of the Covid-19 protective clothing,” he said.
Mr Mutisya said the company was having challenges with supply of raw materials which were mainly from South Africa as a result of Covid-19 disruptions.
The shoe company donated more than 200 gumboots and facemasks to the Midlands Provincial Covid- 19 Taskforce.
Meanwhile, some hair salons, clothing, hardware, electrical and cellphone shops have opened in the high and low density suburbs of Gweru.
In the Central Business District, the only banks major supermarkets have opened. Police continue to mount roadblocks on all major roads leading into the city. The Chronicle