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ZIMASCO ordered to halt illegal retrenchment exercise

Zimasco says it is facing operational challenges which have seen it temporarily closing four of its six furnaces leaving it to run on two in a move it says was necessitated by increased cost of electricity over the cost of the product in the international market where ferrochrome prices have declined.

AILING Kwekwe based ferrochrome producer, Zimbabwe Mining and Steel Company (ZIMASCO) has been issued with an ultimatum to abandon the illegal retrenchment exercise and to pay outstanding trade union dues or risk facing dire consequences.

The miner reportedly compulsorily retrenched over 200 workers from its various subsidiaries around the country from the company’s operational centres in Mutorashanga, Shurugwi, Harare and Kwekwe.

Reports indicate the miner has not offered any package for the retrenchment exercise but proceeded to give the workers May 31, 2024, as the last working day. In retaliation, the affected workers have refused to sign the retrenchment letters in the absence of any mention of packages and the short notice.

On its part, the company says it is facing operational challenges which have seen it temporarily closing four of its six furnaces leaving it to run on two in a move it says was necessitated by increased cost of electricity over the cost of the product in the international market where ferrochrome prices have declined.

But a letter addressed to the ZIMASCO Human Resources Manager signed by the National Union of Metal and Allied Industries in Zimbabwe (NUMAIZ) secretary general, Henry Tarumbira has ordered the company to stop the retrenchment exercise.

“We urgently call for the immediate halt of the retrenchment of 200 workers as we believe that the process is unfair and contradicts the Labour Act,” the letter said.

According to the Labour Law, the retrenchment process kicks off with the implementation of measures to avoid the retrenchment exercise as outlined in Section 12D which both the employer and employee agree on.

When these measures fail after implementation for not more than that year, the employer is allowed to give Notice to retrench through the Works Council. This leads to the formation of a retrenchment committee comprising the employer and employee representatives tasked to deliberate on the retrenchment packages.

If the parties agree, they will settle for the package but if otherwise, they have room to pursue other avenues via the National Employment Council, Labour Ministry or the judiciary.

However, sources at ZIMASCO allege the retrenchment exercise which is barely less than a month old has already seen some of the affected workers being asked not to report for work.

“We submit that we give you seven working days to pay trade union dues and to either completely abandon the unlawful retrenchment process or instigate the correct retrenchment process. We further state that our legal counsels are now seized with the issues.

“We hope that this is order and should you need any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact the undersigned within seven days from the date of receiving this letter,” added Tarumbira. – (New Zimbabwe)

 

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