BULAWAYO – A salesman with a beleaguered Bulawayo company, Marvo Stationery Manufacturers, got the shock of his life after returning from leave to find that he has been demoted to a toilet cleaner.
The disgruntled worker Mbonisi Gumbo, 28, told the Daily News that he has been downgraded by his managing director Soul Mashamba as punishment for being outspoken on the current saga about non- payment of workers.
Workers at the stationery company have gone for several months without pay. Gumbo said he has
always agitated that employees should be paid and that the management team hated him for that.
“I was surprised when I returned to work today (Wednesday) from South Africa after my few days leave and found out that I have been demoted from my salesman position to a toilet cleaner. The order came from the managing director Soul Mashamba who said I should start cleaning the toilets with immediate effect,” Gumbo said.
He said Mashamba and the supervisor Right Mabhanga have always had a problem with him questioning the unpaid salaries the company owes workers.
“It has been 11 months without pay and I have always spoken out for myself and other workers about the issue and I believe that has made me to be a target among other workers. They have demoted me so that I get discouraged and quit my job but I will not do that until they pay us our money,” he said.
Gumbo said they were last paid twice this year, on February 10 and last week Friday.
“Since February 10 when they gave us $100 we haven’t been paid until last Friday where they gave us $50.
In other words throughout the whole year we have worked for only $150 and how do they think we survive?
“As workers we have a case against the company at court but it has taken long for about two years now without anything being done about our unpaid salaries,” he said.
When the Daily News approached Marvo offices to get a comment from Mashamba, he said he was busy.
“I am tied up at the moment I cannot say anything, I am busy,” Mashamba said.
Gumbo said they did not give him a reason why he had been demoted.
“When I ask why I have been demoted to a toilet cleaner, Mabhanga and Mashamba do not give me any reasons but I know they are against the fact that I speak out and I will not stop,” he charged.
He said sometime last year he was fired from work and was rescued by the retired managing director Urayayi Mazengese who gave him an appeal to return to work.
“No worker deserves to be treated this way. We work for the money and do not beg for it so they have to pay us.
“They have ordered me to permanently clean the toilets and when I ask about the protective clothing to use during cleaning they say the company has no material, which means I have to work without any overalls or gloves,” Gumbo said.
Gumbo said he will fight for his right as a worker until he gets paid then he will quit the job because he feels violated.