THE future of over three thousand strong workforce at Zimbabwe Mining and Alloy Smelting Company (Zimasco) is uncertain after the company announced it will be shedding over half of the jobs in an attempt to streamline costs.
Zimasco general manager marketing and administration Clara Sadomba said the company’s profitability had been gravely affected by world market prices which it claims have been going down since 2008.
“Zimasco continues to pursue various cost cutting initiatives in all its operations,” she said.
“This is in response to the adverse global market conditions which have impacted negatively on commodity prices in general and ferrochrome prices in particular since 2008,” she said.
According to KPMG Canada the prices of Chrome have been on a steady upward trend jumping 20% in 2012 from $220 per tonne to $249 per tonne despite claims by Zimasco of dipping prices.
Workers with access to company data have also accused management of not being transparent with retrenchment programme which is currently at a voluntary stage.
“We have been offered a chance to take the voluntary retrenchment package which is not really voluntary because we have been told that if nobody takes it we will be forced to go on unpaid rotational leave and take salary cuts,” a worker who refused to be named said.
From October 2012 to late last year workers were forced to take a pay cut with the lowest paid taking home nearly less than $150 after working just two weeks per month.
The workers alleged Zimasco had too many managers based at its headquarters at Pegasus House in Harare whose high salaries and perks were draining the coffers of the company.
“Instead of focusing on the small guy I think they should cut on their perks and reduce management positions some of which are not necessary, where in the past we had two managers, but now we have 22 — all these getting company cars, fuel and other benefits which drive up costs,” said another worker.
Sadomba denied the allegations saying the process was transparent and all workers were constantly being informed about the actions being taken by the Sino-Zimbabwe owned company.
“One of the initiatives relating to labour include voluntary retrenchment,” she said.
“All our employees are fully aware of the initiatives being undertaken and are continuously being kept abreast of all developments within the organisation as well as the efforts being taken to achieve sustained viability.”