Bata to lay off more workers19 August 2001
The two-year-old hard cash crisis inflicting Zimbabwe's manufacturing sector has taken its latest victim. Bata, Zimbabwe's largest shoemaking company, say they will lay off a further 100 workers because of a shortage in foreign currency needed to import raw materials. Managing director Edward Duthie said that Bata were now in the red and several more jobs were under threat, although would not say when the jobs would be shed. Bata also laid off 200 workers last December. 'Bata is in the red. The foreign currency crisis threatens both our contract and permanent workers', Duthie told the Financial Gazette. The shoemaker imports US$1 million worth of rubber and chemicals each month from suppliers in the Middle East and in neighbouring South Africa. But, according to Duthie, the suppliers are now demanding hard cash upfront, mirroring a practice now common among international traders who fear Zimbabwean buyers may not be able to pay for goods because of the foreign currency crisis in the country. Duthie added that a US$250 million franchise deal with world sportswear giant Nike was also under threat because most raw materials needed to make the shoes have to be bought outside Zimbabwe.