INDUSTRY and Commerce minister Mike Bimha has washed his hands over the outstanding retrenchment packages and salaries owed to former Ziscosteel workers, saying it was a management problem.
Source: Govt washes hands on former Ziscosteel workers – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 10, 2017
BY BLESSED MHLANGA
In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, Bimha said the issue of over 3 000 workers laid off by Ziscosteel and now owed over three years in outstanding wages and salaries, including retrenchment packages, had nothing to do with his ministry.
“It’s a management issue, that’s not a ministry matter. Ziscosteel has a management and a board and these should be able to solve those issues,” he said.
The former workers, who met with MDC-T president, Morgan Tsvangirai, early this week, have since made a police application for clearance so that they can stage a four-day demonstration over the outstanding payments.
Bimha also said he was considering bids from China and India and other local companies, who have shown interest in taking over the fallen steel giant.
“We have received interest for Ziscosteel from China, India and even locals and we are looking into them. There are discussions that are already at an advanced stage, which I am not prepared to discuss in the media at this stage,” he said.
The government had sold its stake to Essar African Holdings for $750 million, but the deal fell through after the two parties failed to agree on mining rights and mining claims. However, Bimha said the Indian investor pulled out owing to poor steel prices.
“The prices of steel were falling and Essar failed to get bankers to invest into the deal and because of that, they had to pull out. But now that the prices have gone up, we now have renewed interest,” he said.
Former Ziscosteel workers accuse management of throwing them into abject poverty by failing to pay them their salaries and retrenchment packages and also withholding pensions for retirees.