Employer Awards Pay Rise After Angry Workers Sabotage Sugarcane

SUGAR processor Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ) was last week forced to increase salaries after disgruntled workers torched plantations of unripe cane in protest over low wages.

The incident took place after the company and unions representing the employees reached a deadlock during a collective bargaining process which began in March this year, with unions threatening to urge their members to down tools until their concerns are heard.

Two days after the fire, THZ called a meeting with three unions representing the workers and it raised the salaries all workers by 73.8% more than what they were offering before the fires.

The lowest-paid worker in grade A1 is now getting a monthly salary of ZW$54 000 and the highest-paid worker in grade B5 is now getting ZW$126 997.69, according to a collective bargaining agreement signed by the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Employers’ Association, Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers’ Union (ZISMIWU), Sugar Production and Milling Industry Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (SPAMWUZ), Sugar Milling and Allied Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe and the National Employment Council for the Zimbabwe sugar milling industry on 6 May 2022. The increase was backdated to 1 April this year.

SPAMWUZ secretary-general Adonia Mutero confirmed the agreement to The NewsHawks, but said workers are not happy with the increase which can cushion them for only a month. He said the removal of the forex component from the workers’ salaries will leave them in abject poverty, considering the current economic challenges affecting the country. He added that as unions they are not aware of the identities of people who torched the sugarcane fields, but said workers were angry during the collective bargaining period.

Tongaat Hulett corporate affairs and communications executive Dahlia Garwe  promised to call back The NewsHawks when contacted for comment, but she was later unreachable on mobile phone.

A senior THZ employee told The NewsHawks that the sugar-milling giant realised that employees were angry after the torching of unripe sugarcane fields and adjusted upwards what it had offered during the collective bargaining process. He said the company was offering ZW$37 000 for the lowest grade but later settled for ZW$54 000 after the unexpected fires which targeted the eight-month-old plantations.

With 19 000 employees at its peak, THZ is the country’s single biggest employer outside the government, making Chiredzi district the main cog in Masvingo province’s economic machinery. NewsHawks

About newsroom

Check Also

Mnangagwa Admits His Govt Is Driving Zimbabwe’s Black Market

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has for the first time admitted that there has been massive pilferage …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *