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    Wednesday, 27 December 2017

    Tongaat fails to pay staff bonuses after losing 4 000 hectares


    CHIREDZI – The effect of the haphazard redistribution of sugarcane estates belonging to Tongaat Hulett to new farmers in line with Government's empowerment policies has started to have biting effects on the sugarcane giant with the company for the first time failing to pay a 13th cheque for its 17 000 workers.
    In fact the situation is so dire for Zimbabwe's only sugar producing company that it bought and is harvesting 100 000 tonnes of sugarcane from another company called Greenfield's fields in order to feed its mills as the shortfalls from its own fields widen.
    Tongaaat has since adopted a wait-and-see stance and may soon be forced to retrench 2 000 workers who are redundant after Government seized 4 000 hectares of sugarcane fields and handed the subdivided plots to 221 new farmers.
    Efforts to get a comment from Tongaat on the bonus situation were futile.
    The Deputy Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement Davies Marapira said the issue of the estates taken over from Tongaat was a serious matter which is receiving urgent Government attention. He said a decision will be made soon.
    However, Union leaders who spoke to The Mirror said morale among workers was low but there was no point in engaging the employer over the bonuses because everyone is aware of the precarious financial situation created by the seizure of Tongaat's estates.
    Tongaat lost the 4 000 hectares in Hippo Valley and Triangle and this area has been one of the company's most productive land.
    Sugar Production and Milling Industry Workers Union of Zimbabwe (SPMWUZ) general secretary Adonia Mutero confirmed the bonus issue but said there was nothing that can be done about the situation.
    Another veteran trade unionist who declined to be named said the sugar giant is still holding on to over 2000 workers who were doing nothing after the estate on which they worked was taken over by Government.
    "This is a serious issue that goes beyond bonuses. The company is paying salaries to over 2000 workers who have nowhere to work. For example in Hippo Valley, the company lost Sections 6 (687 hectares), 7 (687,1hectares as well as section 1 which is almost 600 hectares. These were the most productive sections for the company and it also applies to areas taken away in Triangle. The loss might see most workers losing their jobs" said the unionist.
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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. It is unfortunate that problems f such proportions would be allowed to happen. I am sure the new government will provide a political political solution to the problem


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