The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has given Hwange Colliery a $7 million bailout to settle part of salary arrears, which now stretch over three years, a junior minister told Parliament.
The Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Tapiwa Matangaidze was responding to members of Parliament who were debating a motion on the Second Report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service on the working conditions at Hwange Colliery, National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) and Gwayi Refractories.
The debate lasted late on Tuesday, with MPs accusing government officials of running the firms into the ground through corruption and looting.
MPs accused management of the parastatals of treating workers like slaves, and ministers and government officials of turning a blind eye to the abuses.
Matangaidze said NRZ currently has outstanding salary arrears for over 16 months, while the coal miner owes workers over three years’ wages.
“Hwange Colliery has secured $7 million from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and intends to pay employees 22 percent (of the owed amounts) in the first months (of this year) and then stagger the remainder,” he said.
Government holds 37 percent shareholding in the struggling coal miner.
Matangaidze was silent on a similar bailout for NRZ.
He said an inter-ministerial taskforce will follow up on the report and propose solutions to the crises at the parastatals.