Job losses are intensifying with more than 365 workers being retrenched last month and over 690 workers facing the same fate at the end of this month as company closures escate at an alarming rate, businessdigest has established.
Sources at the Retrenchment Board said this week 369 workers were retrenched last month, bringing the total number of those retrenched this year to more than 6 000. Between January and July this year, 4 668 workers were retrenched, while 623 were laid off in August and September. In October, 362 employees were also laid off.
The development comes at a time when the ruling Zanu PF, which in its election manifesto last year promised 2,2 million jobs, is currently involved in intense factional infighting as the economic decline continues unabated.
Chrome miner and smelter, Zimasco laid off the largest number of workers last month as it plans to retrench in phases 1 300 workers by the end of the year, sources said. Other companies which retrenched workers last month include companies in the hospitality sector and retail outlets under the Spar group of companies.
Insiders said they have already received applications this month for approval to retrench 697 workers.
Sources said companies awaiting approval from the Retrenchment Board to lay off their workers include Crest Poultry Group who are seeking to retrench 464 workers, Lonrho Fresh Exports (125), Willowvale Motor Industries (101) and Mimosa Mining Company (64). Should the board give the go-ahead for these companies to downsize its staff, an additional 750 workers will be thrown onto the streets.
This comes hard on the heels of disclosures last week by Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa during his 2015 national budget presentation that 55 443 workers lost their jobs after the closure of 4 610 companies between 2011 and 2014.
According to statistics presented by Chinamasa last week, the tourism sector was the hardest hit with 2 142 companies closing during the three year period with 18 413 jobs lost as a result. In the manufacturing sector, 458 companies closed with 9 978 jobs lost during the same period.
The construction sector was not spared with 317 companies closing shop during that period resulting in the loss of 3 651 jobs while 368 companies in the agricultural sector closed down affecting 5 465 jobs.
Chinamasa attributed the company closures to a number of economic bottlenecks such as the liquidity crunch and obsolete equipment.
“The economy continues to be dragged down by liquidity shortages, antiquated plant and machinery, cheap imports and high cost of production,” he said.
“This situation has led to company closures.”
A member of the Retrenchment Board said: “The statistics are frightening and we know that there are many more workers who are being retrenched without coming to us for approval.”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Japhet Moyo recently said that 52 companies had retrenched workers this year.
These, he said, include Grain Marketing Board, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company, Nissan Zimbabwe, PG Industries, First Mutual, Tristar Insurance, Cargill, Beta Bricks, Tetrad Investment Bank, Stewart Bank, CFI Holdings and Metbank.
Other companies and organisations which have laid off workers, Moyo said, are Meikles Hotel, Rainbow Tourism Group, Telone, Australian Embassy, Mike Appel, Rufaro Marketing, Pearl Properties, Celsys Ltd, Minerva Risk Advisory, Spar Letombo, Innscor Bread Company, Jacob Bethel and Montana Meats.
Hundreds of companies have also undergone liquidation and judicial management with the most recent being Cottco.