Union recovers $300k owed to farm workers

HARARE - Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Paawuz) says since the removal of Robert Mugabe it has recovered over $300 000 owed to farm workers.

Paawuz secretary-general Raymond Sixpence said most of this money was recovered after protracted negotiations with farm owners with most of the cases being resolved by the courts.

“It is sad that during the Mugabe era a lot of farm owners were protected by the establishment which protected them while they exploited farm labourers.

“I would like to say since the new dispensation we have recovered $300 000 for our membership.

“In the past, these farm employers were untouchables as they had high connections politically and they could boast of that,” said Sixpence.

The Paawuz official said among those still owing farm workers thousands of dollars in outstanding wages are former Cabinet ministers, legislators and a number of influential white farmers who are protected by politicians.

“We are happy that there are politicians like former minister Saviour Kasukuwere and former top cop Augustine Chihuri who have settled their outstanding debts to workers.

“Chihuri has actually reformed and is now paying the minimum wage salary while Kasukuwere and his brother Stan have paid all outstanding wages.

“But there are others like former State minister Sydney Sekeramayi who is not playing ball and we have a court case against him. Others are flatly refusing to cooperate although we will keep engaging them.

“There are also several white farmers who have paid while others are still very arrogant that when we visit their farms they run and report us to the police or army saying we were there to disrupt farming activities.

“But we are not at the farms to disrupt anything but to see that we safeguard the farm worker’s social well-being.

“We have since approached the army and they gave us a letter stating that they have nothing to do with farm and labour issues.”

Paawuz has a membership of 17 000 and these are spread throughout the country.

“We are a national labour union representing farm workers throughout the country. We have other unions that are only there to collect membership fees yet they are not even on the ground where the workers are.

“For instances while we are fighting for farm workers to earn $150 as minimum wage from the current $80, there are other unions who seem to be happy with the status quo because theirs is to receive monthly membership instalments while they are in their offices.

“And we are saying the work is at the farms, you can only represent farm workers if you visit them at the farms and appreciate their difficulties. Others had not been paid for more than 10 years,” said Sixpence.

Now that there is a new government led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, Paawuz is confident that they will be able to recover most of the debt owed to farm workers.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.