16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: HCCL Employees Yet to Receive Last Year's Salaries

Bulawayo — Employees at coal miner, Hwange Colliery Company (HCCL), have allegedly not yet received their December salaries, raising fears the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern could have lurched into a serious liquidity crunch.

Company insiders this week told The Financial Gazette's Companies and Markets that although HCCL has always delayed paying them, the delay in the payment of December salaries had been "over stretched", leaving them struggling to make ends meet.

They said only the lowest grade employees had been paid, with the rest still in the dark over payment dates.

"The situation is so dire that it is now becoming unbearable," said one employee speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Can you imagine that up to today, we haven't been paid salaries for December? How are we expected to survive? We cannot even dare to demonstrate as we fear losing our jobs," added the employee.

He said most employees had the worst Christmas and New Year celebrations as they went to the festive season empty-handed; they also have outstanding utility bills to contend with.

The workers accused management of misappropriating resources by buying themselves expensive vehicles at the expense of pressing salary commitments.

They said the acting managing director, Stanford Ndlovu, had been bought two expensive cars recently which he both smashed.

However, the company's public relations coordinator, Burzil Dube, dismissed the reports as unfounded.

"I don't know where those accusations are coming from," said Dube.

He added: "Ninety-five percent of our employees have been paid and we have been in constant communication with all of them."

The coal miner, which recorded a US$1,5 million loss in 2011, posted a net profit of over US$500 000 for the half year to June 30, 2012.

HCCL's Enterprise Resource Planning System implemented last year and expected to reduce overheads saw 200 workers losing their jobs.

However, some of the retrenched workers were later re-employed after the company failed to settle their retrenchment packages.

The company's former managing director, Fred Moyo, also left the coal miner at the end of September last year after the board refused to renew his five- year contract.

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