Zimbabwe: Simbisa Brands Fires Contract Workers As COVID-19 Lockdown Takes Toll

Part of Harare's deserted CBD on Day 1 of COVID-19 lockdown..

Zimbabwe's leading fast foods outlet Simbisa Brands has fired its contract workers in an attempt to cut costs as the effects of coronavirus lockdown take a toll on the national economy.

The country is now midway through its 21-day national lockdown in an effort to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

However, according to an internal letter signed by Misheck Muleya, the Simbisa Brands human resources director, all contract workers who joined the company last December are to be laid off. Also affected are students on attachment who have been instructed to report for work once the lockdown is over.

"Based on your March 2020 payroll's leave schedule, we need the following, leave balances per shop/cost centre and per employee as 31 March, number of days applied for/taken from 30 March the first day of lockdown and projected closing balance as at 30 April 2020," Muleya wrote.

The decision to reduce the workforce, according to Simbisa Brands is because the company no longer has revenue to pay salaries.

"Every employee must have a leave form actioned for April and must all physically go on leave, no carry forward, even where the employee has zero balance, negative balances will be accepted under the circumstances," Muleya said.

"All acting appointments must be frozen until normal trade resumes, meaning no acting allowance in April. Please treat as urgent, and when you are getting no cooperation from line managers, immediately bring that to my attention or any other directors."

Simbisa Brands Zimbabwe owns and operates 200 franchises under the well-known Quick Service Restaurant brands dotted around the country.

These include Pizza Inn and Chicken Inn, and Nandos and Steers.

Simbisa Brands Limited also has an extensive footprint in Africa, with outlets in 10 African countries including Kenya, Ghana, Mauritius, Botswana, DRC, Malawi, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia.

The company is a subsidiary of Innscor Africa, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE).

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