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Stands in Lieu of Pay
Stephen Chadenga

Gweru Council offers stands in lieu of salary arrears
THE Gweru City Council has offered residential stands as payment for outstanding salaries, for workers at its financially-struggling entity — Go-Beer Breweries.

The brewery shut down in July 2014 and retrenched hundreds of its permanent and contract workers after accumulating huge salary arrears.

“That due to the financial crisis council is facing, Go-Beer Breweries employees be offered residential stands in respect of arrears in salaries and wages to avoid further labour cases,” read part of the minutes of a special council meeting held recently.

In January, council deputy director of finance, Onwell Masimba disclosed that Go-Beer Breweries had incurred a deficit of $2,6 million owing to operational challenges.

Masimba said the state of affairs at the brewery needed viable strategies to attract investors if the beer concern is to be revamped.

“Go Beer is in a big deficit amounting to $2,6 million with the state of equipment and machinery at the brewery being obsolete and dilapidated,” Masimba said.

“If we are to revive the beer concern, there is need for an open strategic partnership with potential investors, who should be furnished with the correct information on the state of affairs at the brewery.”

The local authority has, over the years, taken over the company’s debts and absorbed staff, redeploying them to various departments after they went for years without wages.

Last year, the messenger of court attached 300 cattle belonging to Go-Beer over salary arrears.

In 2014, the Local Authorities Pension Fund took Go-Beer Breweries to court over an estimated $200 000 pension fund debt.

The pension administrator claimed Go-Beer had not been remitting workers’ pension contributions since 2010.

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