AT LEAST 100 employees at Ascot Clothing Company in Bulawayo are seeking the intervention of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to recover more than $130 000 they are allegedly owed by their employer who reportedly deserted them six months ago.
Report by Silas Nkala
ZCTU western region officer Percy Mcijo on Thursday confirmed that 105 workers who took over the company following the sudden departure of managing director Doron Kirkel had since approached the labour body for assistance.
Kirkel is believed to have skipped the border into South Africa where he is now based.
“After the managing director deserted the company, the workers and management agreed to take over operations and they are now running the company,” said Mcijo. “They wrote us a letter citing their problems and I am yet to send it to our head office in Harare for actioning.”
The disgruntled workers took over the company on October 30 this year after Kirkel, who bought the company in 2008, allegedly disappeared without giving notice.
In a letter dated September 26 this year, but received by the ZCTU last week, the disgruntled workers wrote: “We, the workers and management of Ascot Clothing Private Limited, would like to notify your office that we took over the running of the company after the director and the owner (Kirkel) deserted it and went to South Africa.”
“Prior to his desertion, the company was facing numerous challenges. The workers are owed up to $130 000 in wages and salaries.”
They indicated that the company’s creditors included Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, banks, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, National Social Security Authority, Clothing Pension Fund, among others.
“Some of the creditors have engaged the courts to attach and auction machinery,” reads the letter. “We are, therefore, seeking your assistance to help us with logistics to resuscitate the company.”
The company’s human resources manager Mxolisi Hlabangani on Thursday confirmed the crisis at Ascot.
He said Kirkel deserted the company leaving with over
$1 million in debts, but the workers had managed, through judiciary management, to stop creditors from attaching the property.