GWERU –Switzerland headquartered and biggest shoemaker in the country, Bata Shoe Company (BSC) has laid off 106 workers as it is facing viability problems due to tanking economy dominated by cheap second loved shoes smuggled into the country.
For over three decades Bata has been facing stiff competition from dumped second loved shoes which have flooded the market as people from across the social strata now prefer the cheap imports which are priced between US2 and US$20 for international brands.
In its communication seen by The Midweek Watch, the most targeted group of employees are those who have served the 140 year old shoemaker for 10 years and above.
Bata country manager, Simon Mutisya confirmed the sad development and said the shoe company was failing to maintain the 1 200 strong workforce.
Mutsiya also said the company was finding it difficult to resume operations in some sections which were gutted by fire recently hence the hard decision to retrench.
“As you might be aware that some sections of the factory caught fire and might take time to resume.
“Some of these sections will be restructured and approximately 10 percent of the workforce have been affected.
“Approximately 106 workers out of 1200 have been retrenched,” he said.
One of the workers, Micheal Sibanda however said the retrenchment exercise was done without proper notification.
“We are very disappointed by the development. We weren’t notified about the retrenchment and we have nowhere to start from as it was done without notice and towards the festive holiday when families will be expecting something from their working loved ones.
“The most worrying thing is that we don’t have packages after we worked for more than ten years,” he said.
Another worker, who identified herself as Shumirai said she had not known any other workplace except Bata since childhood.
“Of cause its company decision, but sometimes we also look forward for a decent send off especially after having served for such a long time for the organisation.
“As you are aware I this country things are tough due to the economy that is performing badly, it will be difficult to feed our families including our grandchildren who were relying on us as there are no jobs out there,” added a distraught Shumirai.