Zimbabwe Cold Storage Company workers vow to put on a good fight over retrenchment


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More than 140 workers at the Cod Storage Commission have vowed to put up a good fight over plans to retrench them with measly exit packages.

The CSC, once Zimbabwe’s biggest meat processor, was supposedly taken over by a British investor Boustead Beef, but it turned out that the owners of the company are former Zimbabwean white farmers with no experience at all in the beef industry.

According to the cabinet minutes where the takeover was announced in May last year, Boustead was supposed to:

  • raise and invest a minimum of US$130 million into CSC over five years, being for both capital expenditures and working capital for the business;
  • pay off CSC financial debts totalling US$42 530 597;
  • pay rentals of US$100 000 per annum during the first five years of the concession agreement;
  • take over and run the management of the following CSC ranches for an initial period of 25 years: Maphaneni; Dubane; Umguza; Chivumbuni; Mushandike; Willsgrove; and Darwendale;
  • take over and run the management of the following abattoirs for an initial period of 25 years: Bulawayo; Chinhoyi; Masvingo; Marondera; and Kadoma; and
  • take over and manage for an initial period of 25 years, the Harare, Gweru and Mutare distribution centres and residential properties of CSC.

The company initially said it would start operations in September but instead it shut down operations for four months until the end of January this year to allow for re-tooling.

It did not re-open on 1 February. There was no re-tooling. Instead the company advised workers that they were being retrenched.

It said that the workers, some of whom have been with the company since 1977, would be paid the following package:

  • 2 weeks for each year served
  • 3 months’ notice
  • Accrued Leave due

What has, however, upset the workers is that the package is based on wages that were never reviewed following the re-introduction of the local currency which was previously trading at par with the United States dollar but is now down to nearly 18:1.

The lowest paid workers earn a paltry $101 while most of the workers, especially those aged between 55 and 60 years, earn less than $200 a month.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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