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Rubber Products in trouble

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Bulawayo-BASED firm Rubber Products Manufacturing has been given an ultimatum by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to improve the safety of workers or face closure.

MTHANDAZO NYONI
OWN CORRESPONDENT

According to workers, NSSA ordered the company to stop operating its milling machine last Thursday citing the alleged flouting of safety regulations.

The workers said management was given 48 hours to repair toilets, provide employees with new overalls and avoid unnecessary movement of staff in the canteen.

Rubber Products’ suction hoses department was also ordered to stop using workers to carry hoses.

“The company is under fire from NSSA after workers reported it for forcing them to work without protective clothing,” an employee who requested anonymity said.

“More than 160 employees, both male and female, are sharing one toilet as other toilets are malfunctioning.”

Another employee said they were not given proper protective clothing and the working environment was not conducive.

“Three-quarters of the company’s workers have torn overalls and safety shoes,” the employee said.

“Workers fear that they will contract diseases as toilets can go for weeks without being cleaned.

“Several of them are out of order, there is no soap to wash hands and the workers use carbon black, a very dangerous compound.

“Those who are complaining are being sent home.”

A NSSA official said Rubber Products was on Friday given 48 hours to rectify the problems that were identified.

“We have given them 48 hours to put everything in order and we will visit their premises to see whether they have complied or not,” the official said.

“If they haven’t done anything we would be left with no option but to close them.”

A Rubber Products official who identified himself as a director, but refused to divulge his full name, refused to comment on the matter.

“Who told you that? Have you verified your facts with NSSA?” he asked before hanging up.

Last year the firm sent its workforce on forced leave. The workers say they have not been paid in full for the past 18 months.

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