WORKERS at Marvo Stationary (Pvt) Ltd, who reportedly last got paid $10 in May last year, on December 30 2014 got another shock of their lives when they received 30 exercise books as pay, before being forced to go on one-month unpaid leave.
Some disgruntled workers yesterday told the Southern Eye that their Christmas and New Year holidays were a nightmare, as they spent it with their families without food.
“We were last paid $10 sometime in May last year as the company said it had no money,” one worker, who asked for anonymity, said.
“On December 30, we were shocked when we were only given 30 exercise books each, as the company continued to say there was no money.
“Above all, the company wrote a letter advising that it was being forced by a shortage of funds to shut down early and open for business in mid-January.”
The company, in a letter addressed to management and staff written on December 18, which was gleaned by Southern Eye and was signed by the judicial manager, Chrispen Mwete, apologises to workers for the early closure and admits that they had not followed the law, but lack of funds was the major reasons for the early shut down.
The angry workers said while the rest of the staff were still on forced leave, a number of managers and a few workers resumed work yesterday. Marvo workers are reported not to have received a salary for almost two years now.
The company was last year placed under judicial management after it applied for an interdict stopping workers from attaching its property to cover unpaid salaries.
Mwete, who was not available for comment yesterday, was appointed the judicial manager.
The company’s managing director Saul Mashamba yesterday said the exercise books were not part of the employees’ salary but instead, Marvo gave each one of them stationary ahead of the opening of schools.
“It has been the norm that when schools open we give employees exercise books for their children,” he said.
“We thought it was best that we give them exercise books so that when the schools open their children will have books.
“It’s just that someone would want to make a story by claiming we gave them books as pay, but this has been happening for a long time.”
Mashamba said he was not qualified to comment on unpaid leave and pay, with Mwete being responsible for talking to the media.
Marvo Stationary has struggled lately due to obsolete machinery and competition from cheap imports.
Troubles continued despite receiving $758 000 in 2012 under the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund last year.
It owes 103 workers, who have gone for 23 months without pay, in excess of more than $200 000.
The company was established in 1966 and at its peak, employed 600 people.
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