KWEKWE Workers of the defunct council-owned traditional beer brewer, Simba Breweries, will have to wait a little longer before their fate is known after a deal to save the firm collapsed.
During a special council meeting on Monday, councillors failed to come up with measures to effectively deal with 51 employees who have been out of work and not receiving salaries for the whole of last year, when the company was closed down.
Prior to the closure, Simba Breweries had been handed over to a private company, Limsol Trading, in 2009 in a $500 000 deal that aimed to revive the waning fortunes of the council entity. However, Limsol failed to turn it around and was forced to close shop late 2010.
Council has now referred the matter to its procurement committee that is expected to meet with Limsol management to iron out outstanding issues to do with workers and improvements Limsol is reported to have made at the brewery.
Our committee will have to sit down with Limsol to discuss all debts which they owe workers and other suppliers. After that meeting which is expected anytime, we will have a position on workers and how we will move forward, said Councillor Weston Masiya.
While Limsol claims to have injected $100 000 into the brewery and are pushing for a refund, councillors were opposed to any compensation being made to Limsol reportedly accusing it of breaching the contract.
Legal practitioners, Masawi & Partners, who are representing the workers, said they will pursue court action to ensure the local authority pays workers who have been wallowing in poverty since the impasse began.
We have maintained that council is responsible for the welfare of Simba Brewery workers and in that regard we will proceed to approach the High Court for an order to attach property and recover unpaid salaries, said the employees lawyer Liberty Mashanyare.
At the time of the firms collapse, the workers had won an arbitration award of $51 000 in unpaid salaries and wages initially against Limsol Trading which was in charge of Simba Breweries at the time.
But workers are now demanding money from the local authority.