Defiant Mimosa rejects Zanu (PF) position on lay-offs

Platinum mining giant Mimosa has rejected a call from Zanu (PF) not to go ahead with laying off 100 people.

The mine recently said it would be making redundancies in a bid to strengthen operations and cut costs after a fall in metal prices on the international market.

The Zanu (PF) leadership in the province, led by newly elected chair Jaison Machaya, took the matter into its own hands and approached the company’s management declaring that the redundancy exercise should be stopped.

Machaya later told journalists that the party wanted the lay-offs to be stopped because it felt the mine had the capacity to continue with the current workforce.

However, the company’s executive chairman, Winston Chitando, told a parliamentary portfolio committee on mines and energy that the exercise could not be stopped.

He said that, despite reducing costs for the organisation, the move had potential to bring about a better future for the platinum producer.

“In our quest to monitor our cost base, one of the initiatives we have undertaken is a labour optimisation programme, which we have been running for the past three years,” he said. “The programme has culminated in the need to embark on a voluntary retrenchment exercise for 100 people out of a total workforce of 1,766 full-time employees. Our experience over the years is that the route is a win-win opportunity for both the company and employees concerned,” said Chitando.

He told the committee, led by MP Lovemore Matuke, that the affected workers would be awarded reasonable exit packages.

“We will play our part in ensuring that those who volunteer to leave the company are given effective exit counselling and are prepared for post-Mimosa life and opportunities that lie ahead of them,” he said.

Mimosa is the second largest producer of platinum in the country after Zimplats. The company is a 50-50 joint venture between Aquarius and Impala Platinum (Implats). Its production levels currently stands at 600,000 tonnes a year.

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