GMB workers besiege premises

HARARE - Employers of the cash-strapped Grain Marketing Board (GMB) yesterday besieged the parastatal’s offices in Harare demanding payment of $11 million dollars in salary and allowance arrears.

The workers who said they have not been receiving their salaries for six months gathered at the GMB head office vowing not to leave without being paid.

Stephen Machaya, president of the Grain Marketing Board Workers’ Union told over 200 workers that their efforts to engage Agriculture minister Joseph Made had proved futile.

They accused Made of avoiding them adding that they would take the matter up with First Lady Grace Mugabe.

“We are not striking but we have come here to collect our money because we have realised that some of our colleagues who have connections have been getting their dues behind our backs,” said Machaya.



GMB deputy general manager human resources, Sibongile Muchirahondo, tries to explain the company's predicament to irate workers who stormed the parastatal's Harare head office.

The workers also accused their management of financial mismanagement and being insincere over the salary issue.

They alleged that some top GMB officials had recently bought themselves 30 top-of-the-range Toyota D4D off-road vehicles, at a time when the company is reportedly facing serious cash flow problems.

GMB also stands accused by the employees of not remitting their pensions, medical aid and other deductions to service providers.

“We have people who are helping us to get the attention of the first lady because we are aware President Robert Mugabe is not aware of the rot here. We know there is politics behind all our suffering because it all started after last year’s elections,” Machaya told the workers.

The gathering almost became emotive after Sibongile Muchirahondo, the GMB deputy general manager human resources, attempted to address the workers promising them that they would get paid next month.

Muchirahondo was told off by the workers who booed her throughout before she left in a huff. 

“We understand your predicament and we are doing all we can to pay your salaries but we are in a difficult situation. Maybe around March 20, something will come up,” she said to roars of disapproval from the irate workers.

Late last year, GMB ordered all its 3 600 employees to go on a compulsory two-week-long unpaid leave each month, starting next month as it battles a crippling financial squeeze.

In a circular dated December 18, 2014, and addressed to all staff members, Muchirahondo said the parastatal was facing financial problems hence the decision to cut down on the number of working days.

GMB also owes farmers who delivered grain in the 2013/2014 summer cropping season $37 million.

Other factors reportedly affecting GMB finances include non-remittance of handling fees and storage charges by government, depleted working capital for commercial activities, uncompetitive selling price due to high maize procurement pricing, competition from imports, and an unsustainable wage bill of around $2 million per month.

 

Comments (12)

Dr. Grace Mugabe please just make some surprise vistis to these parastatals, you will see your self what is happening. Directors and deputy directors are not coming to work. They are only seen when they come to collect their fuel allowances and airtime time allowances. One parastatal with such people is ZNFPC where the deputy director marketing and communications mr Martin Mukaronda who is related to the Executive Director Dr. Murwira and deputy director Human Resources always stay awol. Directors and deputy Directors of parastatals must be on yearly contracts and evaluated by their workers before any contract renewal.

chatsika - 19 February 2015

Who is Grace? She took RBZ money that was supposed to pay the farmers and these poor Hama dzedu. Makadzinga va rungu. What is in the Lions Den silos. Rats and snakes. Poor Africans born to suffer when Mugabe is throwing a 1mil wedding for Bona and a 1 mil birthday party in Vicfalls.

Chakezha - 19 February 2015

Who is Grace? She took RBZ money that was supposed to pay the farmers and these poor Hama dzedu. Makadzinga va rungu. What is in the Lions Den silos. Rats and snakes. Poor Africans born to suffer when Mugabe is throwing a 1mil wedding for Bona and a 1 mil birthday party in Vicfalls.

Chakezha - 19 February 2015

Another Parastal that is rotten is ZARNET, the CEO thinks its his private company. People are forced to work late for no pay, salaries come two weeks after the pay dates. We will also want the intervention of Dr Grace here! We are abused!!!!!!!!

we.chat - 20 February 2015

Chakezha remember the saying"catch a thief......."?

Abri - 20 February 2015

I know "set a thief to.....a thief"

Chakezha - 20 February 2015

The majority of the so called workers are zpf sympathisers and were engaed illegally without any job descriptions. They are at the front of denying other opposition members grain and other gvt inputs. chamakadya chamuka. when things were normal to your side u said zpf is kool but chional. idyai izvozvo. Now u know kuti utongi we zpf unouraya. I dnt feel sorry for a bit. no job descriptions , no entry qualification but only to terrorise other villages in the name of zpf.

Chawakadya Chamuka - 20 February 2015

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