A CHINESE who runs a company producing snack pellets in Bulawayo has reportedly turned his Belmont premises into a prison where he locks his workers inside a single room whenever he leaves, even when visiting the toilet.
The company is located at the Supersonic complex in Belmont Industrial Area.
According to workers from companies adjacent to the snack food manufacturer, the director, only identified as Mr Jackie, reportedly has a no-nonsense attitude and locks his six workers in a room whenever he is going out, apparently to prevent them from stealing from him.
“This has been going on for some time to an extent that we do not understand when their working hours are. One minute they are open, the next they are closed. They close anytime during the day and the surprising thing is that we never see the workers outside when the shop is closed.
“We hardly get a chance to interact with the workers there because of the Chinese man’s policies. At times customers end up going away after failing to access the workers,” said a source.
“The toilets are outside the complex which they share with another company. Whenever the boss goes to the toilet, we see him locking the door first and opening it when he returns. That is outrageous.”
When Sunday News visited the complex, Mr Jackie was away, the premises were locked and there was one worker standing outside waiting for him to come and open the shop.
“Please wait outside, I have called my boss. He should be here anytime from now,” said the worker.
Questioned on where his other colleagues were, the worker was evasive, insisting that this reporter should “just wait for my boss”.
“All I can tell you is that we are six employees here. The rest I believe my boss can answer; please just wait for him,” said the worker.
A customer who was parked outside the premises alleged that he had been waiting for the director for over an hour.
“I am now used to this, every time I find a single employee outside who assure us that his boss is coming but what surprises me is that there would be people inside every time he comes and opens. This is clear cruelty but you never know because company policies differ from one company to the next,” said the customer who declined to be named.
When Mr Jackie arrived, he was also evasive when questioned on his move to lock the workers inside the premises whenever he was going out, claiming that the rumours were malicious and were being spread by people with a vendetta against him.
However, this was after he had handed over a bunch of keys and ordered his employee to open the premises.
“I do not know anything because I am not always here and I am not the one who is running this shop. I am just here on a part time basis. Actually, we are preparing to shut down this place hence we are downsizing.
“As it stands, I do not have a foreman and that is why I lock my company whenever I leave but I do not lock my workers inside,” he said.
Mr Jackie, however, barred this crew from entering the company, because it is “private property”.
Source: Sunday News