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MORE than 6 200 employees have been retrenched since January this year with many firms still awaiting approval from the Retrenchment Board to lay off hundreds of workers, NewZimbabwe.com has heard.

Sources at the Retrenchment Board said many companies are awaiting the approval to lay off workers rendering hundreds of thousands of employees jobless.

This, however, is in direct contrast with the ruling Zanu PF party’s promise– struggling with a sinking economy — to create 2, 2 million jobs during the run-up to the 2013 general elections.

The sources said organisations and companies that have retrenched workers between July and December include Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), the Belgium Mission, MSF Spanish Mission, Western Transport and Old Mutual.

The number of retrenchments could escalate should the board approve more applications made by companies to lay off workers, sources said.

About 30 companies have been liquidated this year with several others in the process of winding up operations or under judicial management.

According to statistics compiled by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), 32 firms have wound up operations this year, with the furniture industry being the most affected.

Companies that have closed shop in the sector are Treadwinds, Ruwa Export, Hunyani Forest, Durawood, Marondera Sawmills, Ruwa Export, Woodwise and Silcome.

“We are heading for difficult times and 2015 could be worse because there is no promise of turning around the economy,” Said Juma Phiri, a former Ruwa export employee.

Local economist Godfrey Kanyenze, director of Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, said “all the affected people are bound to join the ever-growing bandwagon of the informal sector which operates without a proper regulatory framework.”

He added: “Government is running dry because all these former employees will not be contributing to taxes and levies.”

Source : New Zimbabwe