GRAIN Marketing Board (GMB) general manager Albert Mandizha’s contract has expired amid mounting problems facing the parastatal among them failure to pay workers.
GMB said in a statement Mandizha’s contract expired on November 30 and has decided to pursue personal interests.
“After serving the Grain Marketing Board as General Manager for seven years; Mandizha has opted to pursue other interests,” reads statement.
The GMB board has however requested that Mandizha continues as general manager in an acting capacity while a new boss is recruited.
Mandizha leaves at a time when workers from the cash strapped GMB rejected a compulsory two-week-long unpaid leave each month which had been requested by management prompting the workers to engage the Ministry of Labour.
In a memo signed by the workers union secretary-general David Chigogo, the workers were urged not to go on leave as their issue was now with the Ministry of Labour.
“Please be advised that we rejected the two weeks unpaid leave proposed and implemented by management,” Chigogo wrote.
“We refused their proposal citing we once did this and it never worked and we cannot repeat these unpaid leaves. We have however registered a dispute with the Ministry of Labour.We are urging our members to continue coming to work as we have registered our dispute and this applies for union members only.”
The workers were responding to a memo signed by GMB deputy general manager for human resources Sibongile Muchirahondo on December 18 saying all workers will now be working two weeks a month beginning this January.
In the memo Muchirahondo cited financial problems facing the parastatal hence the decision to cut down on the number of working days for staff members.
GMB has not paid its employees for the past four months and also owes $37 million to farmers who delivered grain in the 2013/2014 summer cropping season.
Muchirahondo said other factors that had affected GMB finances included non-remittance of handling fees and storage charges by government, depleted working capital for commercial activities, uncompetitive selling price due to high maize procurement pricing, competition from imports, and an unaffordable salary/wage bill of around $2 million per month.
She said other high-fixed strategic grain operation costs such as rates and electricity bills against a shrinking financial resource base had also affected GMB’s operations.
Employees were to be served with a notice of seven days before proceeding on unpaid leave.