MORE than 150 workers at Pigott Maskew rubber manufacturing company in Bulawayo yesterday went on strike demanding their salaries dating back to eight months.
Report by Pamela Mhlanga
The disgruntled workers gathered at the company premises in Belmont industrial area demanding to be addressed by the company’s management over their salaries, which have allegedly not been paid since June last year.
One of the workers who requested anonymity told NewsDay that in December last year they were given a mere $65 each.
Another worker said the company’s general manager Joseph Gunda and management from headquarters in Harare had been visiting the company’s premises, but evading issues affecting workers.
“They keep on telling us that the company has no money to pay us yet we know that it is a complete lie as the company makes money from the conveyor belts, mining hoes and rubber lining and other products that we make every day,” said the employee.
The workers said it was surprising that the company, which is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and had received money from the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) failed to pay its workers.
Contacted for comment Gunda directed all questions to the group’s managing director Wilbroad Tsuro.
Tsuro said the company had been struggling to pay its workers since last year.
“I can confirm that we are behind with the salaries and the situation is unfair to the workers, but we are trying by all means to address this situation,” he said.
Tsuro said Pigott had applied for a Dimaf loan and at first the application was turned down, but it was now being processed.
“We have tried by all means to get money for raw materials and to keep the company going, however, the money we will receive from Dimaf will be used for company recapitalisation and not for salaries,” he said.
Tsuro said the workers had been patient during the months they went without salaries and he hoped they would eventually calm down.
“We want to preserve jobs in the company and not to see the company closing down so we hope the matter will be amicably solved,” he said.