Wattle Company employees down tools

Wattle Company employees down tools
Published: 26 July 2017
OVER 100 Wattle Company employees last week downed tools and footed a 40km journey from the company's timber estate in Vumba to its headquarters in Mutare in protest over non-payment of their salaries since 2014.

The workers, who have braved the cold weather and remained camped at the company's premises, yesterday claimed they were owed about $350 000 in outstanding salaries.

One of the striking workers, Artwell Namuno, told NewsDay that their chairperson, Tutsirai Ngonyama and three other workers' representatives had since been fired for leading the demonstration.

Ngonyama was not reachable for comment.

"Currently, we don't have a workers' committee because it was fired after leading a march from Vumba and it's very unfortunate, four were fired," Namuno said.

"We are owed our salaries since 2014, and this affects 150 workers, both contract and permanent workers. They initially gave us $70 each and later $50, but we have resolved to continue with the strike until we have received full payment."

The company's human resources manager, Phillip Masudze, confirmed the industrial action.

"It is regrettable that our workers have taken the matter into their own hands, but otherwise the issue is simple and straightforward. We are paying current wages, but there is a dispute on the settlement of a backlog, which occurred in 2014, over which we engaged the employees and tendered a payment plan proposal,'' he said.

''The employees approached the courts to register an arbitral award for the backlog and when the company filed papers in opposition of the application of the registration of the award, the employees decided to stage a sit-in."

Masudze dismissed the claims that the workers marched from the company's Vumba estate.

"It is not true that they walked all the way from Vumba, but they used public transport, which dropped them off by the gate. Since they have taken the arrears dispute to the court, we are now waiting for the courts to finalise the matter,'' he added.
- newsday
Tags: Strike,


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