OVER 1 000 workers at Cairns Foods Limited’s branches in Bulawayo, Harare, Marondera and Mutare were left stranded last month after they were sent on unpaid leave after the company was placed under judicial management due to financial problems.
REPORT BY SILAS NKALA STAFF REPORTER
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s western regional officer Percy Mcijo confirmed the development yesterday, but referred questions to the Federation of Food and Allied Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (FFAWUZ) for more details.
FFAWUZ secretary-general Unganayi Dickson Tarusenga yesterday said over 1 000 workers at the Cairns branches across the country were sent on unpaid leave as the company was placed under judicial management in December.
“Yes, it is true the company was placed under judiciary management in December last year and the workers who have not received their salaries for the past six months were sent on unpaid leave,” Tarusenga said.
He said Reggie Francis Saruchera of Grant Thornton Camelsa Chartered Accountants had been appointed judicial manager and tasked to run the company in collaboration with the workers.
“Workers, management and the judicial manager are supposed to sit down and agree in terms of how the company should be run if it has to survive, and according to what we got as a union is that they agreed that they be sent on unpaid leave,” he said.
“As a union, we come in to advise our members on the best way they could run the company and benefit from it.”
Saruchera confirmed yesterday that he had indeed been appointed judicial manager for the food processing and canning firm.
“It’s true, but could you send your questions in writing for more details?” he said.
At the time of going to print, Saruchera had not responded to the questions e-mailed to him.
Cairns has been facing liquidity challenges, which affected its operations as it struggled to secure working capital.
The latest crisis came at a time when Bulawayo has recorded over 90 company closures with some relocating to Harare while others were placed under judicial management.