Meikles lays off 153 workers

Meikles Departmental Store in Bulawayo

Meikles Departmental Store in Bulawayo

Business Reporter
Meikles Limited group has laid off 153 workers across Zimbabwe under a termination by notice arrangement as the company rationalises staff to create opportunities for growth on the back of a challenging liquidity environment.

The company will spend about $500 000 on the staff rationalisation exercise while employees who have served many years will receive a gratuity in addition as an appreciation of their service.

According to the labour law, a contract of employment may be terminated by the employer or employee through giving the other party due notice or wages in lieu of notice

Meikles Mega Market general manager Mr Panganai Ngorima told The Herald Business last Friday that the company has laid off employees within the group in a bid to cut costs and increase viability of the business.

He said the staff rationalisation decision was made by the board last year and the process will be done in a way that will benefit both employees and the company while creating opportunities for the company’s growth.

“The company will spend half a million dollars towards the staff rationalisation exercise and we gave the employees an option especially those who are old that we will give first preference for any job vacancy in the future to any one of their family members only if they meet the criteria of the company.

“Rationalisation of staff was agreed upon with the idea to make sure the group remains profitable and viable but I am sure if we manage to turn around the fortunes of the group we will be employing in the future,” said Mr Ngorima.

“What we are doing in terms of the labour law is termination of contract, you know when you sign a contract it says either party can terminate the contract with three months notice. So this is the route that we are using but we understand that there are workers who have been here for a long time and these will get a gratuity in addition to the three months notice.”

He said the company wants to ensure that it becomes viable and create an opportunity for the same laid off workers to get their jobs back in the future.

“As we expand one of the family members of the former employees will be given preference and we can’t expand without regularising our operations,” said Mr Ngorima.

Meikles Limited’s retail arm, Meikles Mega Market is expecting to complete the opening of 10 stores across the country by the first quarter of this year as the retail group extends its forays into the lower end of the market.

The retail arm will open branches in Gweru, Mutare and Mabvuku among others.

Meikles Limited rolled out this initiative of establishing Mega stores to cater for the low income bracket.

The group’s retail divisions continue to encounter demanding environmental challenges particularly tight market liquidity conditions and depressed consumer expenditure.

Despite liquidity constraints, capital expenditure and working capital constraints, the group continues to roll out new units in a bid to create opportunities for growth.