Former Ziscosteel workers to get less than US$10 pensions

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By Staff Reporter

SOME former Ziscosteel employees might get less than US$10 in pensions if government is to pay them their gratuities at a US$1: ZW$1 rate as was earlier indicated.

The concerns were raised by Mbizo legislator, Settlement Chikwinya, who spoke after making similar submissions in parliament.

Chikwinya said government must consider the welfare of Ziscosteel pensioners, who are wallowing in poverty following the closure of the intergrated steelworks giant.

“In parliament, I presented a question on national importance in terms of standing order number 62 of parliament, calling upon the minister of industry and commerce, Sekai Nzenza, to come before parliament and state the roadmap under which Ziscosteel is going to be functional and when the investors are going to arrive on the ground as well as when they are going to start production,” Chikwinya said.

“Parliament, government, Ziscosteel’s former workers and more importantly, the Kwekwe community want to understand and know when this national institution, in our economic recovery programme, is going to begin production,” Chikwinya said.

“They want to know when are the outstanding pensions of former Ziscosteel employees going to be paid off? There is currently a standoff between the ex-Ziscosteel workers, who the government wants to pay in RTGS at a rate US$1: ZW$1 for their pensions, which they accrued in US dollars,” he added.

“It is very unfair, it is very cruel and it is very inhumane for someone who had US$30 000 in 2017 now to get paid ZW$30 000, which is less than US$10 in today’s value. So we want the Minister to come to parliament and tell us how they expect Ziscosteel pensioners to survive and why government wants to pay them in RTGS.”

Government recently approved Zanu PF benefactor, Kudakwashe Tagwireyi’s takeover of the former steel giant through his Kuvimba Mining House company.

Redcliff MP, Lloyd Mukapiko, said the new investor was yet to bring joy to the former Ziscosteel employees.

“The issue of Ziscosteel pension payout is a disturbing story. Ziscosteel workers were retrenched in 2016 according to the Pensions and Providence Funds Act. Ziscosteel employees should then have been given their pensions within three months or 90 days of retrenchment. They should have been paid their pensions in December 2016, but up to now they have not been settled,” Mukapiko said.

“We received information through FML Board of trustees indicating that government, through the ministry of finance, had deposited $39 million in FML account to disburse to beneficiaries in December 2021. Considering that over 3 000 workers are supposed to have benefited, it means that each worker would have been given US$70 in pensions, which is quite sad. There was an uproar and the money was not disbursed,” he said.

“Ziscosteel contributed much to the economy. Its former workers are important and they must be treated with dignity.We are going fight tooth and nail to ensure that the former employees are given what’s due to them,” said Mukapiko.