BULAWAYO-BASED manufacturing concern Rubber Products Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd reportedly closed shop on Friday, sending workers home, with outstanding salaries of over eight months.
Workers who spoke to Southern Eye said they had not been paid from April and the company instead of clearing the outstanding salaries, last week locked its gates.
The disgruntled workers would be going into the festive season with empty pockets.
“We just found the company premises locked and there was no explanation,” one of the workers said on condition of anonymity.
“We were still engaging management over our unpaid salaries and the next day we found gates locked,” the worker added.
According to the workers, the company was set to close for the festive season on December 13 and open on January 20 next year, but the firm is reported to have shut down on Friday before the planned date.
Last week workers told Southern Eye that they had reached a dead-end after the Zimbabwe Chemicals, Plastics and Allied Workers’ Union stopped representing them as their company had stopped remitting monthly subscriptions to the union.
Management was unavailable for comment.
Workers at the firm early this year staged an industrial action in protest over unpaid salaries.
The company is one of many in Bulawayo battling with shortage of working capital, antiquated machinery, among a plethora of challenges.
Companies like Marvo (Pvt) Ltd, Road Motor Service (Pvt) Ltd have also not paid their workers for over eight months.
Industry in Bulawayo is in financial distress and companies in the city continue to close shop with last year alone recording close to 100 shutdowns. Industry needs an estimated $400 million to recapitalise.
The government, however, is battling to fund industry with the disbursement of Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) moving at a snail pace.
Treasury has only released $13 million of the fund from the initial allocation of $40 million.
However, the government recently anticipated the coming national budget to revive Dimaf in an effort to fund the recapitalisation of industry.