The workers were supposed to meet Boustead management on Thursday, 6 February, to discuss their exit but the meeting was postponed to 13 February.
When Boustead Beef took over the CSC one of the directors Nick Havercroft played a key role in interacting with the workers, supported by his chief executive officer Douglas Cartwright and operations director Mark Rousseau.
But when the company failed to take off, Human Relations manager Hellen Sibanda came to the forefront and was joined by Reginald Shoko who is said to be a consultant.
The retrenchment letter was signed by Shoko.
One of the major questions that workers want clarified is, who is retrenching them? Is it the government, the CSC or Boustead Beef?
The letter sent out by Shoko said: “Boustead Beef Zimbabwe Pvt Ltd on behalf of the Republic of Zimbabwe/Cold Storage Company wishes to lawfully terminate all permanent employees on secondment. This will pave way for Boustead Beef to carry out its recruitment and selection processes in preparation for the full Production set to commence end of 1st Quarter 2020.”
The workers are therefore asking whether the government sought an investor to retrench them or to create employment for them.
They also want to know whether an investor can retrench an employee who is on secondment? But more importantly they want to know details of the agreement that the government signed with Boustead because it has never been disclosed to them.
Interestingly, the CSC dispute has just broken at the very time Zimbabwe signed “the crucial” Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA) act.
Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Misheck Sibanda said the coming in of ZIDA on Friday, 7 February, marked the dissolution of the Zimbabwe Investment Agency, the Zimbabwe Special Zones Authority and the Joint Venture Unit.
Sibanda said ZIDA will fall directly under the Office of the President. He said to allow for a “seamless transition to (ZIDA), an audit of the three institutions that preceded ZIDA, and the hunt for the chief executive officer of ZIDA, are already well under way”.
The question is: Will the audit include looking at investments like those of Boustead Beef?
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