Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
SHOE manufacturing company Bata has embarked on a voluntary retrenchment exercise targeting its top managers as it moves to streamline its staff in line with production.
According to a letter seen by Sunday News Business which was signed by the company’s Human Resources manager, Ms Nora Zhanda, those willing to take up the package will be entitled to a $500 bonus above the agreed package.
“The voluntary retirement offer shall be from November 23 to December 14 up to 4.30 PM, a prescribed application form shall be available in the Human Resources Department for all eligible employees, and the scheme will be processed through payroll and subject to tax as per applicable law.
Management reserves the right to accept or reject any application made under this scheme without assigning any reasons for doing so,” read part of the voluntary retirement scheme letter signed by Ms Zhanda.
The company is also offering bonuses to workers who would have opted for the scheme in the next 14 days.
“Those employees who opt for voluntary retirement within seven working days on launch will be paid an early bird bonus of $500 over and above the VRS entitlement while those employees who opt for the scheme within eight days to 14 working days of its launch will be paid a bonus of $300 over and above the VRS entitlement. No bonus shall be paid to applications submitted after 14 days from the date of launch,” she said.
However, some workers said Bata was not being sincere and planning to retrench them at a time the whole country was optimistic that the economy would turn around following the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The President has promised that a number of measures will be taken to quickly turn around the economy which has been facing challenges in the past few years.
“We are saddened by this development by our company. There is no formula to this proposed termination, the timing is wrong because President Mnangagwa said job creation was a must for the economy to grow and this company wants to retrench. Couldn’t they wait for at least three months or so to see if the economy won’t change for the good,” said one of the employees on condition of anonymity.
Contacted for comment Ms Zhanda asked for questions in writing but had not responded at the time of going to print. The company has about 1 200 employees.