5 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Govt Avails $38 Mn for Zisco Workers?

Photo: The Herald
Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.

Former Zisco steel employees have started receiving part of the $38 million windfall availed by government as part of the outstanding salaries backdated to 2009, sources said.

The development comes at a time government has agreed to settle the ex- employees' arrears in tranches beginning last month.

Ex-Zisco workers chairperson Benedict Moyo said the workers will be receiving the pay outs in tranches.

"The salary arrears are not going to be availed as a once off settlement. The workers are going to be receiving their outstanding dues in tranches until they have been settled," Moyo said.

In July, Ziscosteel workers received 40 percent of a month's salary after going for extended periods without pay.

In July, the company availed $400 000 to Zisco group of companies.

The amount translated to 37, 5 % of an individual salary.

Moyo could not confirm the $38 million availed by the government.

"I cannot comment much about the exact amount received from government. I think the unions will be better placed to answer on the figure," he said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the move was long overdue.

"That would be marvellous for the workers to be paid and it is something the unions have been fighting for all along.

"Those workers need money like yesterday and we would like to see them paid. Our members' deserve to be paid," the union's Secretary General Japhet Moyo said.

Majority owned by the State, the company effectively stopped production at its Redcliff main base back in 2008, crippled by corruption, poor management and political interference.

Industry Minister Mike Bimha could not be reached to confirm the released $38 million.

Sources close to the development said the money was won through a lawyer after the attachment of the company's properties.

"Government has awarded the company $38 million as part of the worker's salary arrears of $53 million debt.

"The money which is being given covers the 2009 to November 2014 period," a source close to the development said.

The source said the arrears from 2014 to 2016 which are estimated to be around $15 million are supposed to go through parliamentary processes.

A billion dollar rescue, through a takeover by an Indian company, proved stillbirth after government threw spanners into the works.

Workers had not been paid for years and, 2016, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said they would all be fired without indicating whether the terminal benefits would be paid.

The Sheriff of the High court has since attached vehicles, machinery and other movable property belonging to the company following an order by the High court over the workers unpaid salaries.

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