By Staff Reporter
FORMER Ziscosteel employees, who are still to be paid their retrenchment packages five years after government terminated their contracts, have now turned to parliament.
In an interview, Chairperson for the Board of Trustees for Ziscosteel pensioners, Benedict Moyo, said: “As stakeholders, including former employees, we had a meeting where it was resolved that we petition parliament on the issue. We have since done so.
“The reason why we chose that route is that when the Ziscosteel Bill was passed into an Act when government took over our debt, it was done through parliament and it is the same parliament we are petitioning on the issue. It is to highlight that their law is now being broken”.
He added that when the ex-employees met, they resolved not to take the paltry pensions in their present state.
“What needs to be understood is that Ziscosteel terminated through retrenchment all its employees on 31st of August 2016. From then onwards, we were expecting our pensions within three months. It is within the law. It is within the Statutory Instrument in Pensions and Providence Act that anyone terminated or dismissed from employment must be paid within 90 days of termination of their employment. Up to now we have not been paid,” Moyo said.
In April, the former workers had a meeting to map the way forward.
“Government is the one which took over the Ziscosteel debt in 2016 and this was passed into an Act in 2019. Its now a law that we should be paid. Unfortunately, government hasn’t paid us up to now. Through SI 33 through the ministry of finance, we were to receive our pensions when 1 USD was equivalent to 1 bond note. That was feasible in 2016 not at the present moment. We contributed our pensions to the employer in USD.
“In the meantime, we are calling on government to show the human face, considering the contributions we made in USD. It’s better we get paid on an interbank rate,” Moyo said.
If government is to pay the former employees their packages using the 1US:1RTGS rate, some former employees will get 10 000RTGS in pensions, equivalent to only US$20 on the black market.
He added, that some former pensioners have died without accessing their monies, while Redcliff has been reduced to a ghost town where they struggle to make ends meet.