WORKERS at the troubled former Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, Ziscosteel now NewZimsteel had their anti-retroviral drugs locked in their houses last year when the Redcliff Council locked out tenants in rental arrears, a report has revealed.
The January report on the state of industries in the midlands region was released by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Essar, the African unit of Essar Group in November, 2011 agreed to buy 54 percent in Ziscosteel in a deal worth $750 million, with the government keeping 36 percent and 10 percent to be owned by minority investors but the company is still to resume full operations.
Presenting the report ZCTU central region chairperson Martin Tazvivinga said had the labour body not intervened the situation could have led to a health catastrophe for HIV positive patients who are on ARV therapy.
“Last year the council (Redcliff) locked out tenants in arrears. It was pathetic as some (workers) were locked of (sic) their ARVs,” the report revealed.
“It was thanks to ZCTU and NUMAZ that went to court and managed to rescue the situation.”
The report further noted that schools were attaching property belonging to children of Ziscosteel workers after they failed to pay fees for this term.
The labour body said at the rate at which institutions like schools, hospitals, Zesa and the local authority including landlords keep demanding what they are owed by the steel making employees it was not long before legal action was taken.
“The delay in the Essar deal now haunts us as workers leadership,” the report noted.
According to the report, the steelmaker used to employ 7 000 workers but now has a workforce of about 1 300 on its Redcliff plant.