Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
MORE than 60 workers’ employment future is hanging by a thread as Haddon and Sly supermarket is threatening to close shop citing operational challenges.
The supermarket, one of oldest in the city has not been religious in paying workers’ salaries and owes its suppliers a fortune in arrears.
When Sunday News visited the supermarket it was evident that there were problems as the shelves were almost empty while sources privy to the goings on said there was no restocking of products.
“It looks like there was misuse of funds such that they have not been able to restock the shop that is why the shelves are empty. The suppliers cannot give them more stock as they are owing them so this is why we are running out of stock,” said one worker who refused to be named for fear of victimisation.
Workers say that have not been paid for the past few months and are now working shorter periods.
“We now work two weeks in and two weeks out and we are still owed our dues for previous months and they are not even promising when they will pay us. This is terrible because we are getting paid for just the two weeks each month,” he said.
When contacted for comment, the manager of the shop Mr Onious Ncube confirmed that it was true that they had not settled debts with workers and suppliers.
“It is true what they said, we are having cash flow problems and we cannot pay our workers. We have a one and a half months backlog in salaries. We also owe our suppliers too,” he said.
He said they were also trying to clear their debs with their suppliers whom they owe for the past few months.
A security firm that has been offering security services to the supermarket is also said to be owed three months payment.
In a bid to reduce their expenses Mr Ncube said they have reduced the working hours for the staff.
“They work two weeks in and two weeks out because we want to get the company back on its feet and we can only do this by cutting expenses,” he said.
He said it would take them at least three months to get the shop back to normalcy and the workers and suppliers will be paid their dues.
He dismissed rumors that they were going to close shop as their shelves were empty.
In March this year Haddon and Sly was taken to court by Safeguard, a security company for failing to pay for service rendered to them for a period of five months.
According to summons filed at the High Court in Bulawayo, Safeguard Security (Pvt) Ltd through their lawyers are demanding that Haddon and Sly pays $27 836.66 which was a debt that accrued over five months.
On 1 October 2017 Safeguard and Haddon and Sly entered into an agreement, where the latter would provide security services at the supermarket situated along Fife Street in the Bulawayo Central Business District.
It was further stated that on 1 February this year, Haddon and Sly Supermarket acknowledged the outstanding amount after being issued with summons and pledged to draw a payment plan.
However, since then, the supermarket has failed to make any payment to the security company.