A massive restructuring is in the offing at Allied Timbers Zimbabwe, which will result in downgrading of staff, streamlining and rationalisation, as the company seeks ways to attain viability. An agreement had allegedly been reached earlier between staff and management, prioritising restructuring of the company to ensure viability and avoid retrenchment; which was to be taken as last option.ATZ chairman Mr Itai Ndudzo recently said the performance indicators of ATZ over the past five years were not good, adding that the firm had been consistently making losses while revenue fell.
Mr Ndudzo said judging by nature of its business, ATZ was supposed to be one of the most profitable State enterprises in the country.
Sources say an agreement had been reached to ensure ATZ is not top heavy and this entailed downgrading some directors to managers and redeploying some staff, with those opposed to the proposals being laid off.
The marketing department would also be restructured through stream lining where necessary while anyone against this would, again, be retrenched. Further, ATZ has agreed with workers to merge its saw milling and forestry divisions so that they are put under and report to a single director while new working plans and engineering divisions would be set up.
“An agreement has been reached between the management and staff of Allied Timbers to restructure and resuscitate the company to make it profitable in order to avoid retrenchment,” said a source, “adding retrenchment would be the last option to be considered.
In fact, job losses could be inevitable as it emerged the company started a process to recruit new staff for occupied posts. If the decision to recruit new staff is carried through, some of the top posts that could be affected include chief operations officer, chief finance officer and chief commercial officer among others. Overall, The Herald Business is reliably informed, around 20 new staff would be recruited, but it was not immediately clear what the plans ATZ has regarding fate of staff currently holding these positions.
Efforts to get an official comment from the company’s management were futile.
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe is a private company wholly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe and has three operational companies.
Its main operations involve plantations, harvesting, and processing, marketing and retailing of both pine and gum derived timber.
Allied Timbers Zimbabwe’s operations are highly concentrated in the Eastern Highlands and Midlands and Matabeleland areas of Zimbabwe.
The country’s largest producer of timber specialises in sawn timber, poles, and other value added timber based products such as doors, timber flooring and block boards, brandaring, trusses as well as honey, which it sells at branches in all major towns and cities.