via Ziscosteel workers go for 3 years without pay – DailyNews Live Chengetai Zvauya 30 JANUARY 2014
Ziscosteel workers have appealed to Nicholas Goche, minister of Labour and Social Welfare, to intervene and expedite payment of their outstanding salaries.
The workers, through their lawyers Matsikidze, Mucheche legal practitioners, wrote to Goche highlighting problems they were facing.
“Our clients have instructed us to inform you the prevailing labour socio-economic crisis that is affecting them and their families,” said the January 21, 2014 letter.
“The workers have gone for 38 months without salaries.
“They have not been told of their fate until today and the negotiations seem to treat the employees as passengers as opposed to participants.”
The steel producer was taken over by Indian conglomerate Essar Africa Holding Limited (Essar) in a multimillion dollar deal that saw the formation of a new company called NewZim Steel.
Ziscosteel workers’ representatives, led by Benedict Moyo, confirmed that the workers had engaged lawyers to help them get their dues.
Moyo is chairperson of Ziscosteel Joint Workers Union.
Last year, he appeared before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Industry and Commerce together with Zisco Workers Union Representatives led by Obert Shokomhishi and briefed the committee on issues regarding resuscitation of operations at the mine.
He described their living conditions as pathetic following the closure of the company five years ago.
He told the committee how the 3 500 workers were failing to look after their families and not paying schools fees for their children.
“Kwekwe town is closing down,” Moyo said. “Ian Smith used to come to Ziscosteel to address us during the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, letting us know that we are the backbone of the economy.
“Now we wonder what is happening with our political leaders over Zisco closure. How was President Robert Mugabe allowed to visit us when there was nothing that was going to happen in terms of reopening the mine?”
“We feel that the responsible ministers are playing politics of Zanu PF and MDC at our expense.”
Mike Bimha, the minister of Industry and Commerce, whose portfolio is responsible for Ziscosteel has made countless promises to the workers, but none of them have been fulfilled.
During its peak, Ziscosteel employed 5 000 people and was a major producer of iron-ore and steel products, exporting thousands of tonnes of its steel products on the continent and European markets.
Moyo said the workers were left with no option but to approach the president’s office to intervene so that they may get their salaries.