The Sunday News
Dumisani Sibanda Sunday News Correspondent
FOUR managers at the struggling Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) are set to be retrenched as the coal mining firm has started restructuring as part of its survival programme, it has been learnt. In an interview yesterday by telephone, the company’s managing director, Mr Thomas Makore said the retrenchments have been approved by the board.
“We are now at a point where the company has started the restructuring programme which was approved by the board and the major shareholder. It will start at management level cascading downwards.”
Mr Makore refused to say which management positions have been identified for retrenchment.
“Obviously, we are dealing with human beings here and we have to be careful how we handle the matter and therefore, I don’t think it would be fair to start naming individuals,” he said.
However, sources within the company said four managers who are likely to lose their jobs have been identified for the exercise. The former coal mining giant is now a pale shadow of itself saddled with debts worth millions of dollars resulting in some of its property being auctioned. Workers at the mining company are owed about two years in unpaid salaries amounting to more than $16 million.
But the company’s managing director said he was optimistic that once the restructuring programme which is part of efforts to turn around the concern’s fortunes is put in place, HCCL should be back on its feet.
Last month, the HCCL acting chairman, Mr Jemester Chininga announced that the restructuring programme would result in a reduction of the wage bill by $15 million.
As of December last year, the company owed its creditors $287,3 million. Recently, the company’s workers took their employer to court alleging corruption and asking for it to be put under judicial management. They also sought HCCL’s delisting from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, the Johannesburg bourse and the London Stock Exchange as part of the turnaround strategy they were proposing for the company.