THE industrial action at Dunlop Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd and Rubber Plastic Manufacturing Ltd yesterday entered its fourth day with no signs of the deadlock breaking. Workers still insisted they will not return to work until their grievances were fully addressed by their respective managements.
When Southern Eye Business visited Dunlop Zimbabwe and Rubber Plastic Manufacturing premises in the morning yesterday, hundreds of workers were seated while others were playing street soccer.
Workers that spoke to this newspaper said there were now pushing for new management, labelling the current team as very unco-operative and insensitive to the plight of ordinary workers.
“We are not going back to work until management addresses our problem,” said one of the striking workers, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.
“The current management appears to be failing us and it is better they are relieved of their duties,” added the disgruntled employee.
The strike started last Friday after Dunlop reportedly failed to honour a ruling from an arbitrator who had given the company a 14-day period to negotiate for a salary increase with its workers. Lowly-paid workers at the firm earn a gross salary of $108 a month.
The workers took their employer to court, which last month gave the company a two-week notice to negotiate a salary hike.
The 14-day period lapsed on last Friday and the company is said to have resorted to appealing against the arbitrator’s ruling, which ignited the strike.
The worker representatives said they had been holding a series of unfruitful meetings with management from last week.
The employees who claim that they are not given housing and transport allowances, are demanding a minimum salary of $250.
Some of the employees told Southern Eye that negotiations were now at standstill awaiting the company’s managing director Kennedy Mandevani, who is said to be in Harare since last week.
Mandevani could, however, not to be reached for a comment while the human resources manager Mbonisi Mkwananzi was said to be out of company premises.
The strike is coming when Dunlop recently announced that it had increased its capacity utilisation to close to 50% in direct response to the increase in demand for its tyres on the export market, adding that domestic sales were also surging.
Industry in Bulawayo is in financial distress and companies in the city continue to close shop with last year recording 84 closures. Another 60 companies are reported to be also on the verge of collapse due to financial constraints.
Industry in Bulawayo needs $73 million to recapitalise. The government, however, is battling to fund industry with the disbursement of Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund moving at a snail pace.
Treasury has only released $13 million of the fund from the initial allocation of $40 million.
Twitter feedback @mudarikirig