Workers at New Zimsteel (formerly Ziscosteel) started accessing their August salaries early this week with the new employer promising better fortunes for the long-suffering employees.
Johnson Dumba, media relations officer for New Zimsteel’s major shareholder Eassar Africa Holdings, told NewsDay on Wednesday the salary delays were due to logistical problems in moving money from offshore accounts.
The steel company also effected a 100% increase on the workers’ August salaries which, however, unlike in the past, failed to trigger wild celebrations and parties in the steelmaker’s residential suburbs of Torwood and Rutendo.
Workers, who spoke to NewsDay this week on condition they were not named, said most of them were uncertain about the future and therefore found it too early to celebrate.
“We are not sure whether we will get a salary next month and even if we do, how long will Eassar be here.
“The choice of the company name New Zimsteel doesn’t inspire any confidence.
For instance, how long will this company be ‘new’?,” queried one of the workers.
The new employers seem to have disempowered the workers’ union which has refused to entertain any inquiries from the media since the official handover of the company at a ceremony officiated by President Robert Mugabe in July.
Meanwhile, insiders said New Zimsteel had started a job audit exercise which was aimed at flushing out ghost workers and realigning the workforce.
“At one time Ziscosteel had become the destination for political appointees, people who did not have the requisite qualifications for the job, while some were just getting paid while sitting at home.
“The job audit is aimed at flushing out these people while assigning others to correct positions,” said an engineer at New Zimsteel.
Workers are still owed over $22 million in unpaid salaries from Ziscosteel and no payment plan has been put in place.