The Herald (Harare)

30 November 2012

Zimbabwe: ZFTU Intervenes in Haddon Motors Dispute

The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions has intervened in the dispute between Haddon Motors and its 66 workers following the company's application for liquidation.

Haddon Motors employees this week staged a demonstration that later turned violent when they deflated all the directors' vehicles before scribbling them with graffiti.

ZFTU Harare provincial chairman Mr Justice Chinhema yesterday said that they had met the company management on the issue of terminal benefits.

"The management has remained adamant that they will only pay the workers their terminal benefits after next year's harmonised elections," said Mr Chinhema.

"We believe that Haddon Motors is trying to hide behind the guise of liquidation that is why the workers refused the paltry packages they had been offered."

He said that the ZFTU was going to oppose the liquidation before the proposed winding-off of business on December 7 this year.

Mr Chinhema said that they have since approached the relevant authorities with a proposal for the workers to takeover the company according to the country's indigenisation laws.

"We have written to the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment over this proposal and we also expect to meet the National Indigenisation and Empowerment Board," said Mr Chinhema.

He questioned why Haddon Motors -- which has been in existence for 60 years -- should be liquidated when it was involved in repairs and services which involves little expenditure.

"We believe that Haddon Motors is still a viable entity, and it is simply the owner who has filed for insolvency and not the company," said Mr Chinhema.

The workers' committee chairman Mr Brian Chimudimu said that they believed the employer anticipated a certain outcome in next year's elections.

"We're also concerned that we'll lose our pension contributions as our follow up to Old Mutual yielded nothing, yet we've been contributing," said Mr Chimudimu.

"We later leant that the pensions were being deposited into the company chairman Mr Stewart Haddon's trust fund."

Haddon Motors is part of a group that comprises Colenso Investments, Warren Investments, Haddon Motors Management and Haddon Motors Trustees.

The company initially issued the workers with a "Mutual Agreement to Terminate Employment," but the workers refused to sign citing the poor packages being offered.

The company was offering a three months notice pay, relocation allowance and one month salary.

One of the workers who has worked for 33 years was offered a total package of US$3 100.

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