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AS the economy continues to implode, at least 600 workers have been retrenched so far this year with almost a third of the lay-offs being approved by the Retrenchment Board over the last fortnight, businessdigest has learnt.

This adds to the more than 7 000 workers who were retrenched last year. According to Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa, more than 4 600 companies had been shut down since 2011 to December last year, resulting in the loss of more than 55 400 jobs.

Sources within the 12-member board said they approved the retrenchment of 170 workers from two companies, Hunyani Holdings Ltd and Innscor Africa Ltd two weeks ago.

“We retrenched 170 workers from Hunyani and Innscor on Thursday the 5th of March. At least 600 have been retrenched since the beginning of the year. Things are so bad,” a source within the board said.

The board also recently approved the retrenchment of 24 workers from Carswell Meats and Montana Meats after the takeover of Carswell by Montana.

The board, which meets every Thursday, was expected yesterday to consider the application by Starafrica Corporation Ltd to retrench 67 workers, sources said.

This comes at a time when the board, sources said, is expecting the Chitungwiza City Council to come with an application to retrench at least 1 000 workers should they get approval from Local Government authorities.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Japhet Moyo said nearly 10 companies have closed shop this year, including Allied and AfrAsia banks. He said employers had told him in a meeting on Wednesday that this could be the worst year in recent history in terms of retrenchments and job losses.

“Many more companies are willing to retrench but they do not have the resources and so we will see a scenario whereby many workers are retained but go for months without receiving their salaries,” Moyo said.

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Source : Zimbabwe Independent

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