Kiyapili Sibanda, Business Reporter
Nesbitt Castle, one of Bulawayo’s affluent hotels has suspended operations after laying off some of its workers.
Management said the shutdown was meant to cater for a renovation exercise to fix damages caused by recent storms.
“The hotel and restaurant side of business are closing down because of the major storm damage and flooding, so there is need for major refurbishment that’s why we are closing,” said Nesbitt Castle director, Mr Rory Nesbitt.
He claimed the facility was heavily damaged hence the need for major repairs to be done.
“As the refurbishment is taking place I think there’s no need for housekeepers because we will be spending a lot of money in repairs and payment of workers will be a huge problem,” said Mr Nesbitt.
He said he was not sure how long it will take to complete the repairs citing cash shortages in the country.
“This process cannot be done in one day. It will take some time and I’m not sure when it will be concluded and also the issue of cash shortages will affect us big time,” said Mr Nesbitt.
He said some of the workers will be redeployed to other companies in Chiredzi, which are performing well even though the business is low at this time of the year.
However, workers dismissed management version on the cause of the shutdown and claimed they were being short changed.
“It’s (renovations) a cover-up. There are no renovations taking place and the company has losses amounting to $75 000,” claimed one of the workers who requested anonymity.
“The workers were shocked when they heard the news. Some have been retrenched and redeployed. We didn’t have privilege to meet with the workers’ union.”
Affected workers accused management of misleading the public despite having closed door meetings where they admitted the company was not operating profitably.
“This will affect us big time because as for me I’m a breadwinner and have a family to look after,” said the worker.
Mr Nesbitt, however, dismissed the workers’ claims saying the said $75 000 loss was a hoax.