Sources in the workers’ committee said that more than 400 employees based at the plant, which operates at 20 per cent of capacity, have not been paid since August, apart from one payment in December.
“We are still owed September to November salaries and it looks unlikely that we’ll be paid January’s salaries, which will add up to four months,” said the worker. “We had to protest for our December salaries, to at least cheer our families during the festive season and pay school fees.”
Employees revealed that working conditions were also deplorable. “In 2011, dozens of employees were laid off and soon more jobs could be axed if efforts to revive the plant hit a snag,” said another employee.
ZimPhos is one of the six subsidiary companies under Chemplex Corporation owned by government through the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe.
Chemplex holds a 50 per cent shareholding in the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and a 36 per cent stake in Sables Chemicals, another struggling Kwekwe-based fertiliser producer.
Late last year, ZimPhos’ general manager Tapuwa Mashingaidze reportedly said his organisation was courting potential partners to raise at least $15m to rehabilitate obsolete plant, which was installed in the early 1970s.
If secured, the deal was expected to increase operations to 60 per cent capacity. Mashingaidze said more funds would be channelled towards improving raw material reserves at its Dorowa mine. The company has phosphate mining and processing operations in that area.
The workers said had it not been for the management’s diplomacy, they would have long ago resorted to industrial action.
Chemplex Corporation chief executive Misheck Kachere declined to Comment.
A National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Harare Regional Employer Closures and Registrations Report for the period July 2011 to July 2013 shows 711 companies in Harare closed down, rendering 8,336 people jobless.
Many companies are downsizing and have laid off tens of thousands of their employees, condemning them to a gloomy future and stifling hopes of a quick economic turnaround under the Zanu (PF) government.Post published in: Business