ZIMBABWE Defence Industries (ZDI), a company that manufactures and supplies military equipment and hardware for domestic and international markets, has failed to pay its workers for seven months.
Sources in the company said they planned to meet President Robert Mugabe late last year seeking his intervention but were assured by their managing director, Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube, that they would get their salaries soon.
However, the workers remain unpaid. "We have tried to push the company to get paid without success," said a disgruntled worker. "Instead our working hours have been cut but we are even made to go and work at a company farm," said the source.
"What surprises us is that the management's lifestyle has not changed. They continue to buy luxury cars and go for personal business outside the country."
Another worker said: "When we engage the managing director, Col Dube, he tells us that the cash flow situation has not improved yet. What annoys us is that even though production has stopped, the company is still making a lot of money through exports to countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo. We believe the excuse being given by management is not genuine and what makes matters worse is that there hasn't been any audit of the firm's books since dollarisation of the economy."
The workers also accused the company of deducting pension contributions from their salaries, but failing to remit the contributions to the relevant authorities since 2009. Dube said his company is in the process of rectifying the problem which is currently affecting the majority of companies in Zimbabwe.
"It is not true that we have not paid our workers for seven months, but there was a time when we could not pay them," Dube said.
"We have a shortfall of three months and as early as yesterday (Wednesday) we did disburse some funds although the money is not enough.
"We have been in a serious problem because our main client Zimbabwe Defence Forces has not been buying weapons and the international market has been affected by the global market rates so our products are a bit expensive."
He also said the employees were asked to go to the farm to grow maize for their own consumption instead of spending the whole day sleeping at the factory where there was no production.