THE defunct steel manufacturing firm, Zisco, is still paying over 1 700 former workers two months’ salary as per the July 2018 Labour Court ruling as the company seeks to offset employees’ outstanding salary arrears.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Deputy Minister, Lovemore Matuke, said this in Parliament while responding to questions on Wednesday.
“The court made a judgment against the employer and it specified the terms and conditions of payment for the parties. In the judgment, the court highlighted that the employees were to be paid in each single month their net salary of two months in addition to their owed current salary per individual,” he said.
The Deputy Minister could not clarify the source of the money to pay workers since the firm is not operational.
The matter between Zisco and its former employees was resolved by the Labour Court in July last year. Deputy Minister Matuke said since the court handed down the judgment there has been no complaint of non-payment of owed monies registered either at the National Employment Council for the engineering sector or his Ministry.
“Therefore, we presume the employer is complying with the order. If there is any breach, the employees can enforce the judgment,” he said.
“Whether they are going to be paid (retrenchment packages) or not, it is a court decision,” said Matuke.
Formerly the largest integrated steel producer north of the Limpopo, Zisco ceased operations at the height of economic challenges in 2008 resulting in more than 5 000 people losing jobs.
Hopes for the revival of operations at the steel giant were revived in 2011 when an Indian steel conglomerate, Essar Global, signed a $750 million deal with Government to resuscitate operations at Zisco.
The pact collapsed in 2015 due to a number of reasons, among them political bickering in the then inclusive Government. However, in 2017, Zimbabwe secured a $1 billion investment from R and F, a Chinese firm to resuscitate operations at the defunct Redcliff-based steel giant.
Industry and Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Ndlovu is on record as saying there has been significant progress made towards the resuscitation of Zisco so far._The Chronicle