EMBATTLED ex-Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) boss, Godwills Masimirembwa is mired in a labour dispute after it emerged that he is failing to pay his workers at Zimbabwe Institute of Legal Studies (Zils).
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
According to sources, workers have gone for over a year without being paid, and some were allegedly retrenched without any benefits.
The workers alleged that last month they only received 6kg of rice instead of their salaries.
“He [Masimirembwa] is saying there is no money but people are suffering. He shouldn’t fire them if he cannot compensate them,” said the source.
Most of the workers at the institute said they were afraid to speak fearing victimisation.
“Some workers are owed in excess of US$20 000, and those who were retrenched did not get any severance packages,” said another source who added that some of the retrenched employees had approached the labour court seeking reprieve.
“A couple of the retrenched workers have since approached the labour court for redress ,” said the source.
Morale at the institute was said to have hit rock bottom as the employees pondered their fate.
The said dispute arose when the Zimbabwe Law Society (LSZ), which is a regulatory body of the legal profession, refused to recognise Zils and its diploma certificates.
However, Masimirembwa alleged that the issue was a personal and political one.
“The attack was on me personnally, and there was a political agenda behind this entire furore. Despite the good that I was trying to do, LSZ sought to shut me down but that will not happen,” he said.
The former ZMDC boss said although things were not in order, within 90 days there would be an improvement.
“The situation should look up in the next 90 days. We are trying very hard to work something out. We are running around sourcing for money,” he said. LSZ president Lloyd Mhishi could not be reached for comment yesterday.
On the labour dispute with employees, Masimirembwa confirmed receiving formal notice from the labour court.
“It’s actually two employees who have gone to the labour court and so we wait for the process to begin,” he said.
Masimirembwa is currently embroiled in a US$6m bribery scam involving some Ghanaian investors.
Allegations are that while he was still the chairperson of the ZMDC, he corruptly entered into shoddy deals with some investors whom he later asked for a bribe. But Masimirembwa has denied the allegations saying he was ready to tell his side of the story in court.
ALL IS NOT WELL, ADMITS MASIMIREMBWA
Goodwills Masimirembwa last week admitted that there were problems at his school.
But he said the current financial woes were a result of the negative publicity that Zils received during a protracted dispute with the LSZ.
“The negative publicity that we received resulted in our enrollment plummeting and some students even withdrew from the institution.
“The situation was compounded by the general economic situation which is not favourable,” said Masimirembwa.