KWEKWE – About 15 companies in Kwekwe have shut down since April after losing legal battles with workers over unpaid wages running into thousands of dollars, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) has said, blaming the closures on the flatlining economy.
The companies had their properties attached by the Deputy Sherriff and auctioned to pay off workers, who had not been paid since 2012.
On Monday, Bell Medical Centre, a private hospital, was shut down after the Deputy Sheriff attached property including bedding and other equipment after the High Court in Harare ruled in favour of workers who were owed $55 000 dating back to 2012.
Midlands engineering group, CC Electrical’s property was put under the hammer last week over a $15 000 wage bill, after another court ruling.
Blythedale Mining closed shop after its property was auctioned last month for failing to settle $60 000 in salaries for 45 workers, who took the company to court.
The ZNCC’s Kwekwe office said it was alarmed at the developments.
“We have to start looking for market opportunities elsewhere because our members are failing to survive in this harsh economic environment,” the branch said in a statement.
The revival of giant steel producer, Ziscosteel at nearby Redcliff, could help reverse the city’s fortunes with a number of its companies likely to benefit from its reopening.
Last week, Essar Africa Holdings, which bought a 54% in Ziscosteel in 2011, said it was starting work at the company to build a new 500 000 tonne steel plant for $650 million over two years after resolving differences with the government over mineral rights that stalled the project for nearly four years.
The government eventually agreed to transfer 80% of the rights to Essar while keeping the remainder.
Zimbabwe’s labour legislation has come under spotlight in recent times – seen as favouring workers – has been criticised for hampering industrial recovery by making it difficult for firms to lay off employees to restore profitability.
With the economy flatlining amid a deepening dollar shortage, thr government and business are advocating for productivity-based wages, which has been opposed by labour unions.
– The Source