Zupco hunts for former employees

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Ailing passenger company Zupco, which is on the market hunting for a new chief executive, has embarked on a rehiring drive of workers retrenched in 2000.

In 2010, Zupco laid off close to 400 workers and more than $2 million was required to pay retrenched employees. The company is saddled with an estimated $6,4 million debt.

“Zupco is currently rehiring some of the workers who were retrenched in June 2010. Those keen on rejoining are required to contact “the nearest Zupco offices,” said the company.

Although no official comment could be obtained from authorities on Monday, some retrenched workers told NewsDay the passenger company was mainly after drivers and mechanics.

Zupco has over the years seen its fleet shrink and lost significant market share to efficient domestic and regional competitors.

In 2009, it had 400 buses and used to collect revenue of $1,4 million, but within a year it had only 50 buses while revenue nosedived to only $200 000 monthly.

The decline in revenue resulted in the company failing to pay salaries and packages for retrenched workers.

Zupco once the dominant public transport operator, has over the years been marred by serious allegations of financial mismanagement, corruption, court battles and accusations of buying sub-standard buses to augment its dwindling fleet which has resulted in the company declining.

It has been supported by the government since independence.

In August last year, board members of the perennially loss-making parastatal admitted to a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Rural and Urban Development that the transport firm purchased sub-standard buses from China.