KADOMA — Retrenched Kadoma Marketing (Kama) workers and their families have been sleeping in municipal beerhalls protesting against non-payment of their salaries.
The workers were retrenched in February after the local authority closed all its beer outlets.
The 67 workers have vowed to stay put at the beerhalls dotted around Rimuka high density suburb until they are paid over $142 000 by council.
Godfrey Manika, the workers’ committee chairman said council had subjected them to poverty after it failed to pay their retrenchment packages.
“Kama has been failing to pay our wages and salaries for a long time and now they just want to close operations,” Manika said.
“How do they expect us to meet our rentals, school fees and other needs?”
Sarah Ngulube, who served Kama for 15 years, said she was owed over $1 400.
“I have dedicated my life to council and people of Kadoma throughout my 15 years of service and now all of a sudden I am jobless,” she said.
“I will stay here with my family until I am paid.”
In a letter dated February 29 to the workers, council said it had closed down Kama and their fate would be determined by the Retrenchment Board.
“It therefore follows that all contracts of employment for all Kama employees shall terminate on March 1,” reads part of the letter.
“Issues related to retrenchment have been referred to the Retrenchment Board,” reads part of the letter.
The mayor, Peter Matambo, said council closed down the liquor undertaking following a directive from Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo.
“The minister instructed us to close down the over-staffed and loss-making Kama and we have complied,” he said.
“We are, however, working on modalities to ensure that we pay the workers what is due to them once we get people interested in leasing the properties.”