A local pharmaceutical company, ZimPharm Private Limited in Bulawayo’s Belmont industrial area, has advised its 37 employees that it will close down on Wednesday and relocate the machinery to Harare at the same time allegedly offering workers paltry packages of between $2 000 and $3 000.
Report by Silas Nkala
The company, reportedly owned by a businessman based in Harare, also suspended the contracts of 18 workers without paying them their dues for two months.
Owners of the company are alleged to be complaining over the dwindling market for their products, hence their decision to shut down the branch.
The disgruntled workers have since engaged the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to seek legal intervention.
ZCTU Western Region officer Percy Mcijo confirmed receiving reports of the affected company from its affiliate, the Zimbabwe Chemical, Plastics and Allied Workers’ Union (ZCPAWU).
Mcijo said the workers told the union that they were advised by the employer about the closure.
“The employers told the workers that the company was not having a market for its products, hence they decided to shut down,” said Mcijo.
“They said the machinery was already being moved to Harare and we are going to try and assist them where possible.”
Workers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity yesterday said management had told them that the company would be closed on Wednesday next week.
“They are forcing us to take packages of between $2 000 and $3 000 that include our leave days, October and November salaries and $100 for each year a worker served the company,” said a worker. “We are really confused here over our fate and this has destabilised our families.”
The company’s general manager Gerem Massgrave declined to comment, saying there was someone, a McCosh, dealing with that who was based in Harare.
Efforts to get comment from McCosh were fruitless as no one was picking his office line yesterday.
Meanwhile the ZCTU regional officer said another chemical manufacturing company, Stan Chem in the Belmont area, was on November 2 this year put under judiciary management after it experienced a liquidity crunch.
The development comes at a time when the city has seen over 90 companies shutting down since the 2008 hyper -inflationary period.
At the end of August, ZCTU indicated that about five companies in the city closed between July and August this year, while more than five others were put under judiciary management.
Companies have failed to access the government’s Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund which was introduced to recapitalise ailing industries in the city.