Following the cascading developments over the past few weeks which saw Pula Steel being forced to shut down operations due to its failure to comply with the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control regulations, the company has now announced that they have now extended the employees’ unpaid leave by another month.
Over a month ago, the company placed 190 of its employees on unpaid leave. At that time, Pula Steel Corporate Services Director Brian Mosenene had said “we cannot afford to pay salaries because the plant is now closed,” adding that no production has been taking place since June 7th.
However, Sunday Standard has turned up information which suggests that Pula Steel Manufacturing, a subsidiary of BCL Mine has issued its employees with letters extending their unpaid leave period by another month. This new development comes just days after Pula Steel was ordered by the labour department to pay the employees as it was found to be in contravention of Section 16 of the Employment Act.
In response to this development, Mosenene said the extension was necessary as the company has not been given the permission to continue with production, adding that if employees return to work the company might not “afford to pay them.”
He, however, said they have completed the required installation of a pollution control system to comply with the necessary safety standards.
Since Pula Steel was found guilty of breaching the Employment Act, the arbitrator is expected to be issued an advisory award for the company to pay its employees as it was deemed unlawful.
Although he could not disclose the amount of money the company is losing daily, Mosenene said 100 tonnes of production metal would be lost on a daily basis that the plant is shut. He also said they are now awaiting “the department to come and conduct inspections. They promised that they will come in due course after which production can resume,” he revealed.