A trade union has accused Zanu PF officials of protecting commercial farmers who allegedly abuse their workers in return for bribes.
BY STAFF REPORTER
Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Paawuz) secretary-general Raymond Sixpence singled out Zanu PF’s Harare provincial commissar Shadreck Mashayamombe, accusing him of intimidating farm workers.
Sixpence claimed that his union had been barred by Zanu PF officials from visiting the affected farms on the outskirts of Harare.
“We have approached the National Employment Council [NEC] for Agriculture and we have approached the minister of Labour but the employers are refusing to attend the hearings both at NEC and ministry of Labour because they have protection from Zanu PF politicians, particularly Shadreck Mashayamombe,” he claimed.
“They are intimidating the workers to de-affiliate from the union.
“The employers are now using fear to intimidate the workers and as a result, the workers are living in absolute fear of the politicians and the employer.
“The employers have also barred us from their farms and they have instructed security not to let us in.”
However, Mashayamombe hit back, describing Sixpence as dubious.
“The person spreading those allegations is a thief. He was chased away from Goromonzi and he uses Zanu PF’s name and regalia to sponsor his dubious activities,” he said.
Sixpence said they had given the NEC a two-month ultimatum to ensure his union was part of the collective bargaining process in the agriculture industry.
“If they don’t admit us by January, we will stop all the members from paying contributions to the NEC, we will stop all the deductions,” he said.
Paawuz accuses other unions of colluding with employers and government to impose “slave wages” on farm workers during collective bargaining.
Farm workers in Zimbabwe earn a measly $75 a month.