Fired Meikles workers put management under siege in Bulawayo

Fired Meikles workers put management under siege in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO, June 3 (The Source) – Dismissed employees of hospitality and retail group Meikles Limited on Wednesday staged a demonstration and laid the firm’s top management under siege at its Bulawayo branch offices, demanding their retrenchment packages, The Source has established.

Meikles served employees with termination of employment letters while at work on March this year in a nationwide exercise targeted at releasing over 70 percent of its workforce.

In Bulawayo, the company retrenched about 33 workers from 43 while in Harare and other cities it retrenched close to 120.

However, on Wednesday, about 30 employees staged a demonstration at the company’s Bulawayo branch demanding their retrenchment packages. They accused John Moxon, the company’s chairman, of being a “bogus” businessman.

They were carrying posters written: “40 years of service, we need our money Moxon. I have a right to life” “Gone are the days of slavery” “Pay us our retrenchment packages now”

Worker representative Owen Chidangadura said the group was operating in bad faith and accused managing director Phillip Ellse of introducing the retrenchment exercise to get rid of permanent workers, who are more expensive to maintain than contract employees.

“This is abuse. We have families and all we want is our retrenchment packages.  Of late, we have heard that Meikles is venturing into other businesses like mining, pouring a lot of millions. Why can’t they give that money to the 153 people and let them start a new life somewhere? ” said Chidangadura.

He said workers have tried and failed several times to engage the Meikles management.

Meikles chairman Moxon and company secretary Thabani Mpofu could not be reached for comment.

Workers said the company owed them arrears on a 10 percent salary increment awarded to them in 2012. The company only effected a 2,5 percent  increment and the matter is before the courts.