HomeLocal NewsEx-Monarch staff picket at company offices

Ex-Monarch staff picket at company offices

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BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA

ABOUT 10 former workers at Monarch Steel (Pvt) Limited Company in Bulawayo on Saturday staged a protest against the company demanding payment of their retrenchment packages amounting to US$63 000.

In 2015, Monarch Steel Company laid off 45 workers in a downsizing exercise, but failed to process their terminal benefits.

Some of the affected employees had served for over 40 years at the company.

At the weekend, they gathered at their former employers’ property in Ascot, demanding their dues.

This followed a court case in 2016 where 14 retrenched employees, who were represented by the Zimbabwe Engineering Metal Trade and Allied Workers Union (Zemtawu), approached the National Employment Council (NEC) which then ordered Monarch Steel company to pay its former employees a total of US$63 102,60 in retrenchment packages.

The ruling was confirmed by the Labour Court in 2017 following an appeal by the employees when the company had failed to comply with the NEC order.

The employees later approached the High Court in 2018 after the company failed to comply with the order.

The matter is pending.

After the Saturday protest, Zemtawu labour officer Owen Mthobi Moyo told Southern Eye that efforts by the former employees to have their retrenchment packages paid had been fruitless.

“Here we are talking about employees who served for over 40 years, but they were retrenched and walked away with nothing,” Moyo said.

“Some of them are now over 80 years old and they need to take care of their families, but they have no money. Some of the employees have already passed away before getting what was due to them.

“Several attempts to engage company authorities to have the retrenchment packages paid have been futile, hence the decision to demonstrate,” he said.

In the High Court appeal, Belekezela Mangena, who filed an opposing affidavit on behalf of Monarch, objected to the payment of the arrears saying the company no longer existed.

On March 13, 2021, Moyo wrote to Monarch Steel asking it to consider the plight of the workers.

“I am requesting you to consider the plight of these workers and actual pay (sic) something considering that they were long serving members as their service was between 20 years and 42 years.

“A greater lesson I have is that confrontation has never been a better way of dispute resolution.

“I now seek your generosity to assist these workers.

“It is my belief that you never refused to pay them,” Moyo’s letter read.

Follow Miriam on Twitter @FloMangwaya

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