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of over 300 workers by Tobacco Research Board
Congress of Trade Unions
January 19, 2007
The Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions is disturbed by the suspension of 300 workers by
the Tobacco Research Board after they had given notice to go on
The workers decided to
embark on a collective job action demanding a meaningful wage increase.
The Board was paying workers a paltry $6 000 and proposed to give
the workers a 100 percent adjustment that would have increased the
wage to a meager $12 000. The workers gave notice of intention to
embark on a collective job action after which 300 workers were suspended.
The chairperson of the
Workers' Committee was the first one to be suspended without
benefits for inciting workers to go on "illegal" picketing.
As far as we are concerned there is nothing called illegal picketing.
The suspension of the Chairperson resulted in a work stoppage with
workers demanding that he be reinstated.
The Board also had 80
contract workers in its employ whose contracts were promptly terminated
bringing the total of affected workers to 380.
The ZCTU greatly deplores
such behaviour from employers. The employer allegedly told the workers
they were bringing the name of the Board into disrepute but we believe
the employer is the one who is bringing the name of the Board into
shame by paying employees slavery wages. The Board has been paying
its employees wages gazetted for farm workers when it should have
been paying the minimum wage as negotiated for by the Zimbabwe Tobacco
Industry workers' Union.
We urge management at
the Board to normalize the situation and reinstate the chairperson
of the Workers' Committee, the suspended 300 employees and
the 80 workers whose contracts were terminated.
The employer should also
cease forthwith exploiting workers by paying them wages for other
sectors that are far below what their sector earns.
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