Stressed Zimasco downsizes to 56 workforce

via Stressed Zimasco downsizes to 56 workforce – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 9, 2015

ZIMBABWE Mining and Smelting Company (Zimasco) Shurugwi division has reportedly downsized its workforce from approximately 1 500 to 56 employees, as the chrome giant faces mounting economic challenges.

By Simon Phiri

The development has forced hundreds of families to relocate from the mining town due to the acute decline in the company’s production capacity in the past decade.

Approximately 75% of the housing units in the mining town belong to the chrome-mining giant and the company has since started forcing its retrenched workforce to pay rentals or to vacate the places.

Sources privy to the developments told NewsDay that workers were retrenched in two batches in July.

Under the first compulsory retrenchment, workers were offered one month’s salary multiplied by complete years served and benefits of six months’ salaries, but the company is said to have only paid 12.5% of the money to date.

For the other compulsory retrenchment effected on July 31, workers were offered two weeks’ salary for each complete year served at the company plus monetary benefits of up to six months’ salary. Workers retrenched in July are yet to receive any amount from the chrome giant, despite the company promising it would pay them 25% by October 31 this year and the remaining quarters in January, April and July next year.

Responding to questions sent to the company, Zimasco spokesperson, Clara Sadomba could neither deny nor confirm the development.
Sadomba said Zimasco had a workforce of approximately 700 and was operating at 40% capacity.

“Zimasco, which encompasses Kwekwe, Shurugwi and Mutorashanga divisions, continues to operate at 40% of capacity (a level that was adopted 12 months ago) due to depressed ferrochrome prices that have been on a continuous downward trend since the global financial crisis of 2008. The company has approximately 700 employees,” she said.

“The current maximum operational capacity of the company (which is based on five furnaces) is 180 000 metric tonnes (mt) of ferrochrome, which is produced from approximately, 540 000mt of chrome ore. However, at its peak prior to 2006, the company operated six furnaces, which produced 210 000mt of ferrochrome, produced from approximately 600 000mt of chrome ore.”

Retrenched employees, who spoke to NewsDay yesterday, vowed they would not move out of the company premises before the authorities honoured their part of the “retrenchment agreement”.

A company official told NewsDay last week that the chrome giant, inclusive of its all three divisions, used to employ approximately 3 000 employees and created various downstream firms prior to the economic downturn in 2008.