Sunday, 22 December 2019

MEIKLES DEAL : 120 WORKERS STRANDED

The imminent takeover of Meikles Hotel by investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) might affect the future of at least 120 contract workers, it has been revealed.

ASB Hospitality (Zimbabwe) (Private) Limited, a subsidiary of the Dubai based Albwardy Investments, recently struck a deal worth US$20 million with Meikles Limited to take over the iconic Harare hotel.

The deal is now awaiting approval from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as it involves foreign currency.

Meikles employs 400 workers and 120 of them are on contract amid indications that only full time employs are guaranteed of retaining their jobs when the takeover is completed.
“We have around 400 employees. That includes both permanent staff and contract staffers.

“All employees will be transferred to the new owner. Of course, the ones who are on contract when their contracts expire, the new owner will reassess whether they continue with them,” said Meikles chief finance officer Thempson Muzvagwandoga, responding to questions from Standardbusiness.

“A refurbishment would commence so certain sections of the hotel I guess will close, but there will be other skills required if those contract workers do not continue immediately in terms of the building and there will be other employment created during that period.”

He said the contracts varied, which meant that the affected employees will not leave at the same time.

“The permanent employees are somewhere around 280 of that 400 and the balance which is 120 are on contract terms,” Muzvagwandoga added.

“The contracts are various; they all don’t just end on the same day.

“There are some who are on two-year contracts, some on one-year contracts, some whose contracts are six months.”

Meanwhile, Meikles executive chairman John Moxon revealed that the new investors will have to spend US$30 million refurbishing the hotel.
That means Albwardy will spend over US$50 million on the project.

“What is not taken into account is the responsibility that Albwardy is receiving for all staff of this hotel and all their rights in terms of the Labour Act,” Moxon said.

“So, there is quite a substantial hidden cost to them which is in addition to the US$20 million.
“In all the negotiations, we have made it a point in ensuring the wellbeing of the staff in this hotel is secured”.

Moxon said the Employee Share Ownership Trust will not be touched following this changeover of ownership from Meikles to ASB Hospitality, Albwardy’s holding company. Standard

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