Bonus woes for New Zimsteel workers

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Workers at New Zimsteel (formerly Ziscosteel) have endured yet another challenging festive season following confusion surrounding payment of bonuses.

The workers who have gone for 11 months without pay say they were given payslips last Friday indicating there would be bonuses on top of this month’s salary.

But they were only given a month’s salary minus the bonus before the payslips were taken away from them on Monday.

The new major shareholder, Essar Africa Holdings, has distanced itself from the promised bonuses.

“The old management headed by managing director Alois Gohwo gave employees the payslips and later revoked them, we don’t know where they were going to get the money to pay the workers considering they have not been operating for a long time,” said Firdhose Coovadia, Essar Africa Holdings resident director.

Essar said they were committed to settling all outstanding debts owed to the workers by Ziscosteel, which stood at $54 million in September.

“Following a Cabinet directive issued in December that we should resume operations immediately, we met with the workers and assured them that they will get their salaries on time every month,” Coovadia said.

“We also told them that we will pay them all outstanding claims after agreeing on a plan, which will be put in place by our human resources team, the old Ziscosteel human resources team and the workers.”

However, the workers said the confusion surrounding the payment of the bonus had spoilt their Christmas celebrations.

Essar said they might take time to normalise the situation at what was once one of Africa’s leading steel makers.

“We are aware that the workers have been suffering for a very long time and that come January they will have school fees to pay and other obligations which need money,” Coovadia said.
“Every cent owed to the worker will be paid, it might take some time but it will be done.”