BATA SHOE COMPANY chairman Thomas G Bata yesterday made a private tour of the company’s factory in Gweru before a brief visit to Bata Primary School where he met pupils and staff.
Bata, grandson of the founder of the global shoe manufacturing company, Tomas Bata, toured the company’s factory, which has been facing operational challenges in the last decade as a result of the country’s economic meltdown.
However, Bata refused to speak to the media with the company’s public relations manager Joseph Ndlela saying the visit was “private” and his boss could therefore not address journalists.
But Bata made brief remarks to Bata Primary School staff and pupils urging them to work hard and build good careers for the betterment of their lives.
He congratulated the school for producing some of the best results in the country.
“Congratulations to you for being one of the best schools,” Bata said.
“Year after year you are one of the most highly recognised schools. Study hard, do well in building lives and careers for yourselves and also contributing to the prosperity of this lovely country.”
Bata’s visit comes at a time when the company is operating below capacity and employing about 1 500 workers from a workforce of close to 5 000 during its peak.
Bata was established in 1894 as T&A Bata Shoe Company by three siblings, the eighth generation of shoemakers in their family in the then Czechoslovakia now known as the Czech Republic.