Oliver Kazunga, Acting Business Editor
BULAWAYO-BASED textile concern, Merlin has embarked on a gradual re-employment of ex-workers having so far engaged 60 employees from the maintenance department as it re-opens.
The manufacturing firm, which suspended production long back and has been under judicial management since 2012, has re-opened after embracing a business turnaround strategy following the injection of $2.1 million.
The working capital which was sourced from one of the firm’s creditors, would be used to carry out minor repairs and maintenance on selected machinery and equipment to allow the firm to resume production.
An official at the company, Ms Patience Muchechemera said:“We have advised them (former employees) that they will be called any time for work as we reopen. At the moment, there is some activity going on at the factory which involves mainly fixing of machines.”
She said the re-employment will be done gradually.
Merlin judicial manager Mr Cecil Madondo said recently that following the injection of working capital, the textile giant would start production on a small-scale.
He said the factory will start by producing samples that will be taken to the market as the company solicits orders.
It is hoped that the textile firm would come out of judicial management within 12 months of re-opening.
In a separate interview yesterday, Merlin workers committee chairman Mr Nyasha Mugurasave said 60 workers from the maintenance department has since been re-engaged and were busy doing the maintenance work.
“The company has advised of reengagement and so far 60 ex-workers from the maintenance team have been re-employed and are at the factory doing the maintenance work. As soon as the maintenance work is complete, workers from other departments such as production will be employed,” he said.
The firm, which is one of the oldest textile companies in Bulawayo, was established in the 1950s and used to employ more than 1 000 workers.
Meanwhile, the textile giant has postponed an auction sale of non-core assets which had been scheduled for Bulawayo this week pending an approval from the High Court.
Last week, Mr Madondo said despite an approval by the company’s creditors and members to dispose non-core assets, in terms of Section 307 of the Companies Act, the judicial manager has to seek approval from the High Court to conduct the auction sale.