One of the country’s largest bread and confectionary makers, Lobel’s Bread has allegedly been deducting pension funds from workers but not remitting it to fund managers Old Mutual, something that has set it on collision course with its ex-employees.
The practice came to light after the company retrenched 50 workers this year but when the workers asked about their pensions at Old Mutual they were told the company has not been remitting the money for the past two years.
“I have been working for Lobel’s Bread for more than 10 years but I have only received money which is equivalent to someone who has worked for two years. What is surprising is that our payslips show that the company has been deducting money ever since I started working there,” said one of the workers who only identified himself as Mr Moyo.
Another affected worker said what was frustrating was that the company was reluctant to entertain their queries.
If it means taking the company to court that’s exactly what we will do because we are sick and tired of continuously talking to people who are not even taking us seriously. We went through the same process when we wanted our retrenchment packages and now we are expected to do the same, its high time management took us seriously,” said one of the workers who declined to be named.
“We have been trying to reason with the management but it seems like they are not taking us seriously. For example they made us look like fools by not following the right procedure and forcing us to sign pension forms,” he continued.
Workers alleged that when they approached Old Mutual they were told that there was no money.
“When we went to Old Mutual we were told that there was no money which means that we are not going to get any benefits.
This means that the company was converting the money it was deducting from our salaries to its own use.”
Contacted for comment, Lobel’s Bread chief executive officer Mr Socky Kapnias confirmed the matter and said the company was trying to get to the bottom of the matter.
“We can confirm that we have received queries from some former employees regarding their pension payments. We are currently engaging all parties to understand the basis of these claims so that these queries are addressed,” he said