Marvo Stationery finds new investor, workers relieved

Workers at Marvo Stationery Manufacturers are relieved to learn that a new investor has agreed to pay their overdue wages and reopen the company.

The manufacturing company was placed under judicial supervision in September 2014 as it struggled to settle a $2.5 million debt incurred after failing to pay its creditors and a massive wage bill backlog while employees suffered months without pay and worked fewer days.

Marvo’s operations were halted around 2015 due to a lack of adequate working capital, since it had been struggling to stay alive for some time, and a cash injection from the government and the Old Mutual-run Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF) also failed to turn its situation around.

Workers told CITE that Marvo’s Judicial Manager, Crispen Mwete, had finally found an investor who agreed to pay them their outstanding salaries in exchange for the investor purchasing all remaining firm assets equal to the creditors bills as per court agreed positions with all parties concerned.

“We would also like to confirm that the new investor has already paid the initial payment through the Judicial Manager and our legal representatives Majoko and Majoko Legal Practitioners,” said the workers representatives led by their chairperson, Noah Marandu.

“The judicial manager also confirmed in our regular updates that he had used the initial payment to pay workers pension funds including National Employment Council (NEC), Old Mutual as well as reconnecting the electricity at Marvo stationery that have been disconnected for close to ten years now, among other things.”

Marandu stated the workers appreciated the Judicial Manager’s decision to fix their pensions so that they could access them.

“According to the meeting we had with the judicial manager and the papers in our possession the new investor is willing to start paying our money as soon as everything is finalised,” he said but alleged that the company ownership had been throwing spanners in the new investor’s efforts of reviving the company.

“The manager intends to stop the new investor from accessing the Marvo stationery premises so that he starts production. As the workers representatives we view this as the usual way of frustrating and sabotaging or delaying the reopening of Marvo Stationery. As the workers committee we condemn this move in the strongest terms.”

The workers representative said they were “solidly” in support and behind the judicial manager and the new investor.

“We are in agreement with his payment plan as well as his intention to reopen Marvo stationery and re-hire us. We are worried about intentions to stop the Marvo deal. We are the majority creditor collectively as Marvo workers and our voice should be considered. The company management has refused to pay us our unpaid salaries since 2009 and the company has been closed since August 20, 2015,” alleged Marandu.”

“Now that we have a new investor, they are trying to stop the new developments again and we won’t allow that. They are refusing to hand over the keys to the Marvo property for the new investor to start production as well as pay us our money.”

Marandu said Marvo ownership should not sabotage and delay the opening of Marvo while prolonging the suffering of the poor workers as that would be “working against the government’s policy of reviving the industry especially in Bulawayo.” 

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