WORKERS at the struggling coal miner Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) have demanded that they become the company’s shareholders after their outstanding salaries exceeded the firm’s shareholders’ funds.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
Government is the largest shareholder followed by Messina Investments and Mittal Steel.
According to a report submitted to Affirmative Action Group (AAG) Matabeleland chapter for investigation, the disgruntled workers said they had become a critical part in the company by virtue of being owed money.
“Our projection based on the current performance of the company shows that the creditors will be exceeding shareholders’ funds at the end of the year. Workers have become a critical part of creditors. The overdue amount in respect of workers will be over $60 million,” read part of the report.
“In view of this, the workers should now be involved in major decisions that affect the operations of the company. These decisions should not be left to management alone. Workers, therefore, should have the right to appoint someone on the board of the company to represent their interests. Major contracts and transactions with other parties should pass the scrutiny of workers leadership, or their board representative.”
Workers said they have not been paid regular salaries for the past 27 months. They said as at 30 November 2015, they were owed over $46,10 million in unpaid wages or salaries, since 2014 and partly 2012 [4 months ring fenced].
“We are concerned that the company seems to be progressively sliding towards bankruptcy and its going concern capability is under serious threat. The likelihood of the company’s recovery seems to be elusive given the trends that are evident to us,” the workers submitted.
They said they have watched a development where those entrusted with the leadership and management role of the company consistently made decisions which were prejudicial to the company.
“We have over time become aware of decisions, which in our view, are calculated to siphon money out of the company to the detriment of the workers’ and other stakeholders’ interests,” workers said.
HCC managing director Thomas Makore refused to comment saying the company was in a “closed period” after the close of its financial year ended on December 31.
Mines and Mining Development minister Walter Chidakwa’s phone went unanswered.