MORE than 100 workers from Chinese building firm Golden Bricks who have gone for eight months without receiving their salaries are being paid in bricks.
According to workers at the Dzivaresekwa-based firm, their employer has been paying them part salaries since November last year.
An employee who spoke to the Weekend Post said the brick firm pays its employees $100 via mobile money platforms.
He said currently Golden Bricks owed employees more than $1 900 in salary arrears each, despite selling bricks daily.
“Last year, management resolved — without consulting us — that they would pay some of our outstanding salaries with bricks. Their deal was that anyone with less than $1 000 in salary arrears would be combined with another employee so that they are given 10 000 bricks to sell and pocket the proceeds as their salaries,” he said.
Another employee said security can check out more than five truckloads of bricks a day but management still insists there is no money to pay salaries.
He argued that the bricks that are transported out of the yard are fully paid for as the client presents a receipt at the gate before leaving the premise.
“10 000 bricks cost $1 000 at the firm. Seven truckloads every day are enough to pay us all our salaries yet they do not want. When employees engage management on the issue, they are met with hostility. Only recently, two workers were fired for demanding their dues,” he said.
A union representative only identified as Musiringofa said the problem with the brick manufacturing firm started last year when they started shifting pay dates.
He said when workers complained through the Brick and Clay Union, it was agreed that the firm would pay in bricks once as an alternative but the company saw it as a loophole to continue.
Musiringofa said upon shutdown in 2015, workers were being paid 1 000 bricks for every $100 owed to an employee.
“Since we started production in March this year, Golden Bricks has not paid full salaries. They are supposed to pay after every fortnight but so far they are eight payments in arrears.
Apart from that, the working conditions are also very bad as some workers do not have contracts of employment,” he said.
The unionist added that Golden Bricks management has even gone to the extent of telling employees they will only be paid if the economic conditions in the country become favourable.
The human resources manager identified as Mupopa was not available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered.-WP