Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
MANAGEMENT at Hwange Colliery Company is now reportedly targeting workers aged above 50 for compulsory retrenchment after there were no takers for its voluntary retrenchment call.
The company last month, came up with a voluntary retrenchment proposal in an effort to cut its workforce after last year’s moves to lay off 1 000 workers were blocked by the Government.
The company last year wanted to cut its 2 400 workface by almost half but that was stopped by the Government and instead ordered to cut working hours to two weeks per month.
However, sources at the mining company said no worker came forward to volunteer for the package by 20 February, which was the deadline.
The workers were reportedly not keen to take up the offer as many were doubting if the company had the ability to pay out the said packages.
The company is yet to pay exit packages to the 800 workers it retrenched in 2014.
According to the latest retrenchment offer, the company was to pay notice of three months basic pay, service pay of one month salary for every two years of service, severance pay of six months basic pay and relocation allowance of one month salary.
In addition those that are staying in company houses would be allowed to stay for three months from the date of retrenchment
But after the expiry of the deadline, it is reported that management wanted to extend it but noticed that it could again hit another dead end and has now reportedly told workers that those who are 50 years and above will now be targeted for compulsory retrenchment.
“The Human Resources office has told us that soon those who are 50 years and above will be retrenched. It will be more like retiring them since the company is saying they would have almost reached the retirement age,” said a worker who declined to be named.
Sources said company officials have been going around departments trying to persuade workers to come up for retrenchment.
“In a bid to motivate employees especially of pensionable age to take up the package there were a series of awareness meetings with three having been held on Wednesday in No 1, 2 and 3 to address concerns that workers may have.
However, workers still do not want to take up the offer,” another worker said.
Company managing director Engineer Thomas Makore could not be drawn to reveal the response of the scheme from workers arguing that it was still premature for him to comment on the matter.
“I cannot comment at the moment until the process is complete as it deals with people’s lives. They need time to make decisions so let’s just wait until the process is concluded,” he said.
Eng Makore is on record as saying the company was running at low capacity owing to limited working capital, aged plant and equipment, huge employee costs and a depressed macro-economic environment.