Zimglass in $16 million capital bid

Struggling glass manufacturing firm Zimglass has set in motion a bid to acquire more than $16m capital from its major shareholder and government.

The firm, which has fallen on hard times, has failed to pay workers for the last three months and is also facing challenges in acquiring raw materials.

Acting Zimglass chief executive officer Gilbert Tapfuma said the capital funds were expected to be unlocked from its major shareholder, the Industrial Development Corporation and the Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf).

“We have applied for $15m from IDC, and another $1.5m application has gone to Dimaf. We need those facilities to ensure we raise our production and get adequate raw materials in time,” said Tapfuma.

Speaking about the problems facing his firm in paying salaries, Tapfuma said it was an issue that needed broader intervention by the government.

“We have problems with existing labour laws, which we feel are blind to productivity trends found in the industrial sector. Many companies are operating at 30 per cent capacity and so the wages and salaries of workers cannot be expected to be paid in full scales as prescribed by the National Employment Council.

“We, therefore, call upon government to introduce flexible labour laws that prescribe salary rates of workers based on productivity levels of companies,” he said.

Zimglass is understood to be working on exploring new markets in the SADC region. The firm’s main target is Zambia, where there is high demand for flint glass used to bottle drinks.

The company is one of the many firms in the country to have hit hard times. After a protracted process of raising funds for the rebuilding the furnace, refurbishing the plant and buying equipment, the company only succeeded in resuming full operations last April after having shut down in September 2011. The development had left 472 permanent employees and 100 contract workers stranded.

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