By Dickson Chaeruka
J. Davies factory, a subsidiary of Moonlight J Funeral Assurance Company, has terminated operations at its Mutare Factory citing viability challenges, The Worker has learnt.
It has been established that a total of 13 employees lost employment through an involuntary retrenchment at the firm. The company, in a letter addressed to one of its affected employees dated 29 January 2020, stated that the firm succumbed to the adverse economic environment currently prevailing in the country.
''It is with regret that the board of directors have resolved to shut down J Davies (Private) Limited due to incapacitation to resuscitate operations. The factory has not been operating for the past 18 months due to the adverse economic environment therefore the company is forced to close down officially on the 31 of January 2020. The closure will ultimately result to involuntary retrenchment for all employees,'' cited the letter signed by one of its managers identified as Elijah Chawira.
In the same letter the company offered to settle the employees' terminal benefits at two weeks' salary per every year served as service pay, gratuity and a three months notice. The employees', represented by the Zimbabwe Furniture, Timber and Allied Trades Union (ZIFTATU) have challenged their disengagement from the factory citing that it was not procedural.
''One of the fundamental objectives of the Labour Act Chapter (28:01) is the promotion of the participation of employees in decisions affecting their interests. We have requested that the company should follow the outlined procedure. The company never brought this issue before the Works Council neither were the employees given a notice. We have also challenged the imposition of a two weeks service pay. The law only provides the two weeks' salary as a minimum and parties are allowed to bargain above the minimum,'' said the union's Eastern Regional Organizer, Ezekiel Ngorima adding that if the company fails to give the union audience, they shall be left with no option but litigation.