HARARE – Zimbabwe could witness a nationwide power failure as Zesa Holdings (Zesa) workers have threatened to embark on an industrial strike action demanding payment of outstanding salaries from the technically insolvent power utility.
The workers are understood to be demanding a 50 percent salary increment while also demanding payment of the $100 million they are owed in outstanding salaries and benefits by the power utility.
Yesterday, Zesa, in a press statement warned of the impending power crisis which could throw the country into darkness.
“The Zesa Group wishes to advise stakeholders that it has received information of a threatened unlawful collective job action by a trade union within our sector which has been targeted to occur in the ensuing days. The threatened job action, if it does happen, will definitely have an impact on security of power supplies. The power utility, however, is putting in contingency measures to manage and mitigate against the action to ensure that public is not unduly inconvenienced,” said Zesa.
Zesa, which has around 700 employees, admits that it owes its workers more than $100 million salaries accrued from the Statutory Instrument (SI) 50 of 2012 collective bargaining agreement which mandated the power utility to pay its workers according to seniority and qualification.
However, Zesa has not been able to meet its end of the bargain, saying in the statement that its level of indebtedness has been a major prohibition.
“The utility posted a significant loss of $132,2 million for the year 2012. It was and remains technically insolvent as evidenced by the net liability position of $479 million as at December 2012. It has been on a loss making trend with an audited accumulated loss position of $217 million in 2016, which is projected at $393 million by December 2017,” reads the statement from Zesa.
Zesa also maintains that for now, it is unable to meet the employees’ staggering demands.