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    Monday, 16 April 2018

    Tongaat retrenches 181 as effects of land takeovers bite



    MORRIS BISHI
    CHIREDZI BUREAU

    CHIREDZI – Tongaat Hulett, Zimbabwe's single largest employer outside Government has terminated contracts for  a further 181 workers as the continued takeover of the company's land takes its toll on viability.
    The workers received the termination letters on Tuesday and they were employed in Sections 7, 6 and 1 of Hippo Valley which was taken away by Government a few years ago and redistributed to indigenous farmers. There are fears that more retrenchments are looming as Tongaat continues to restructure its workforce and has been downsizing for some time now.
    Former Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Industry Workers Union (ZISMIWU) president, Freedom Madungwe confirmed the retrenchments and said it was ironic that this was happening at a time when the new dispensation led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made job creation its number one priority
    Efforts to get a comment from Tongaat Hulett Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager Adelaide Chikunguru were fruitless as she was said to be out of the country.
    Mudungwe said Tongaat is currently reassigning a lot of its permanent staff and this was a sign that the company which employs more than 17 000 workers is preparing to downsize its workforce significantly.
    The company is currently battling to retain 4 00 hectares taken away by Government and redistributed to 2…farmers. If the company fails to win that legal battle, it will be forced to retrench another 2 000 workers.
    "Contract workers returned from the Easter Holidays on Tuesday to be told that their services were no longer required and were asked to go home and bring company property. Sixty-two were stopped in Section 7, 60 in Section 6 and 59 in Section 1 and this was after the land was taken away from Tongaat and given to new farmers by Government.
    "As workers we are curious to know whether the position that Government espouses in public about job creation is the true position that it stands on. It is ironic that President Mnangagwa wants to create new jobs when he allows jobs that are already there to fall away," said Madungwe.
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