Nearly 100 former Ingwebu Breweries workers are camping at the company’s premises vowing to stay put until their retrenchment packages are paid.
BY SILAS NKALA
The workers were retrenched in 2012 but have apparently organised themselves and regrouped at the company’s car park since April 19.
When Standardbusiness visited the company on Friday morning, the former workers, who include women, said they would camp at the company premises until their demands were met.
The workers’ organising secretary, Bekezela Mhlanga said they were not paid their packages in full.
“We were given paltry packages. Someone who worked for 30 years would be given $3 000, which was what someone who worked for three years should get,” Mhlanga said.
“We feel cheated. We also did not get our pensions. They were not remitting the money they were deducting from our salaries to the pension scheme.”
Moses Mdonga who lost four fingers at work said he was deeply aggrieved as he did not get any compensation for the injury.
He said the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) had paid Z$99 500 to the company and the money was deposited at some bank on March 17 2005 but he ended up getting just Z$8 000.
A female ex-worker who preferred to remain anonymous said according to company records, she joined the organisation in 1962 — the year she was born and the misnomer had resulted in yet more discrepancies in her pension calculation. She ended up being awarded $2 000 instead of $22 000.
The workers have since sought the intervention of Bulawayo mayor Martin Moyo. Ingwebu is a subsidiary of the Bulawayo City Council.
In their letter addressed to the mayor, the former employees say they did not leave their jobs voluntarily, but were forced to leave as working conditions became unbearable.
“They [employer] started closing down beer gardens, making people give in to their calls for voluntary packages,” reads the letter.
“We want investigations instituted in the operations of the company and if there is anything wrong, the offenders must be prosecuted. There are people who are willing to give information to support investigations.”
The workers also demand that the company be run by council.
They claimed to be owed more than $7 million in back pay and retrenchment packages, with the lowest paid worker owed about $39 000.
Ingwebu sales, marketing and corporate affairs manager Prince Nkosana Ndlovu recently professed ignorance about the ex-workers’ claims.
He told a local daily that management was not aware of any outstanding money owed to former workers.
Moyo confirmed receiving the letter but said he was yet to read it.
“That matter is between them and Ingwebu. We have nothing to do with it, unless they are looking for advice,” he said.
“The city council has arranged a meeting to talk to the former employees on Thursday next week.”
In February, Grain Marketing Board workers picketed outside the parastatal’s offices demanding outstanding salaries following a retrenchment exercise in 2015.