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Tongaat Hulett Awards Pay Hike After Disgruntled Workers Torch Sugarcane Fields

Tongaat Hulett Awards Pay Hike After Disgruntled Workers Torch Sugarcane Fields

Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ) was recently forced to raise its workers’ salaries after the workers set unripe sugarcane on fire after salary negotiations reached a deadlock.

According to The NewsHawks, plantations in Area 1 and 2 with various sections including 2, 9 and 13 saw several unripe sugarcane fields being torched between 3 and 4 May.

The company had to harvest the burnt unripe sugarcane which was eight-month-old. Under normal circumstances, sugarcane is harvested after 12 months.

Just two days after the fire, THZ called a meeting with three unions representing the workers and it raised the salaries of all workers by 73.8%. The increase was backdated to 1 April this year.

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.

THZ signed an agreement signed with 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.

SPAMWUZ secretary-general Adonia Mutero confirmed the agreement to The NewsHawks. He said:

I can confirm that the employer agreed to increase our wages by 73.8%, which is way below what we were expecting.

Our situation was worsened by the removal of the foreign currency component from our salaries.

We were receiving part of our salaries in foreign currency for two or three years but that was removed late last year and the employer is saying it removed it after a directive from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

We are aware that some of the sugarcane plantations in Triangle were torched, but as unions, we cannot tell the identities of the assailants, but truly speaking workers were angry.

We will continue lobbying for better pay which will allow us to live a decent life since the current salaries will see most of the workers living in poverty.

The NewsHawks reported a senior THZ employee as saying the company was offering ZW$37 000 for the lowest grade but later settled for ZW$54 000 after the unexpected fires. Said the official:

The company acted quickly after the fires but they wanted to play down the issue as if the fire was targeting ripe fields which were ready for harvesting.

I can tell you that fire tenders were mobilised in a bid to put out the fire, but surprisingly they called unions for the continuation of the negotiations where they offered more than what they were offering. This increment is nothing because we are now only getting the local currency.

At its peak, Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe had 19 000 employees, making it the country’s single biggest employer outside the government.

More: The NewsHawks

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18 Comments

Asalif 1 month ago

@Machiavelli you are very correct because in 2 months time that salary increase will be blown away again by inflation and when they go to the drawing board with the company, it will stick to it's offer which will be little since there will be nothing to hold the company to ransom , as for labour they can't automate it is community give back since there are no local shareholders in the company , it's like the bilateral relationship of the countries states that


Machiavelli 1 month ago

The burning of sugar cane fields is intimidatory and smacks of bullying and holding the company to ransom. Workers may appear to have won a short term victory by bringing the company to the negotiating table and getting a higher than expected wage increment. But in the long term, they certainly will be losers.

For starters they have lost an inflation proof US$ allowance. With inflation at 350% annually (39%monthly (, that is a long term loss of incalculable proportions. Furthermore, quietly the company will eventually put into place measures to reduce manning levels that way stifling employment creation. In Zimbabwe cane harvesting has always been labour intensive, but I can foresee Hullets going for automated combine harvesters shortly. Other cost cutting measures, at the expense of workers will be implemented

Mark my words, whoever started burning cane has sown the wind, and workers will reap the whirlwind


stallion 1 month ago

next year zivayi pekuisa vote things will settle down

Dhuterere 1 month ago

Mayouth eZanu pf akapisa akabudiswa muminda yavaiva vapiwa Tongaat iri kuda kurima chibagwe inonzi Kilimanjaro project


Twabam 1 month ago

Guys the only way out is not salary increment. Go out there and start your own things...That alone can make us escape this rubbish


Mr KK 1 month ago

Thats wat l did, l resigned from my wrk nw ndakurima maveg zvinenge zvitorinani stereki

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GVT 1 month ago

Zvino isu ve Ministry of Roads topiseiwo


jorum 1 month ago

ma tollgate

pfambi 1 month ago

ko isu ma**** topiseiwo😆

Ngezha 1 month ago

Aaaah Makupisa sugar fut,,


BUOY 1 month ago

well done to those workers


Citizen 1 month ago

Burn Zupco buses so that mabhazi awedzerwe nyika yese


faerry 1 month ago

that was the crude respond from emploers to set the cane ablaze

.
at least the workers have one goal keep them toil till they act.welldone chiredzi people


pirato ponjo 1 month ago

kkkk brain dzako sooo hanzi ma nurse batidzai ma wards ukuda kuti vapise varwere here kuti mari iwedzerwe kkkk


Youth 1 1 month ago

Ko makazodii nemaresponse evanhu veApprenticeship


THZ 1 month ago

Youth rega titange tapinza Chamisa pachigaro tozoita izvozvo

queen of the south 1 month ago

saka maticha batidzaiwo maclassroom Mari iuye,,manurse batidzai mawards


Lion 1 month ago

Ko mapurisa anobatidza mabandit here kkk


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