Tongaat to retrench 5 000 workers


TRIANGLE – Sugarcane giant Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe has started a retrenchment process in which over 5 000 workers are expected to lose their jobs.
Efforts to get a comment from the company spokesperson Adelaide Chikunguru were fruitless but The Mirror has in its hands a notice distributed to workers signed by Chief Executive Officer Aiden Mhere.
In the notice, Mhere is inviting workers to take up a voluntary package which begins immediately and remains open until February 24, 2020. It is not clear what happens if the company does not get the required number of retrenchees by that date.
Mhere said in his statement that the retrenchment was necessitated by the harsh trading environment prevailing in the country.
However, Sugar Production and Milling Industry Workers Union of Zimbabwe (SPMWUZ) General Secretary Adonia Mutero has dismissed the proposed package as an insult to workers. He said that the process was meant to replace permanent workers with casual employees who will not have job security.
He vowed that the Union will resist the programme.
The company is taking advantage of Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube`s anti-worker financial policies which promotes super profits while workers wallow in poverty, said Mutero.
“As we are all aware Tongaat Hulett is in the process of redefining its future at the back of tough trading conditions facing all its operations in the region. In order to effectively deal with these challenges, the company has initiated a process to invigorate its human capital capabilities, fundamentally change its performance, culture and strengthen its governance system.
Mhere said in the statement that the retrenchment is for those workers who want to rest or to take up the entrepreneurial challenge to create wealth through other gainful projects.
The workers are offered a gratuity equivalent to 2 weeks` pay for every year served, retrenchment bonus of 4/30 of total monthly earnings multiplied by service, six months’ severance pay based on current basis plus cost of living allowance, twelve months medical cover and relocation to a destination of choice in Zimbabwe using company provided transport or hired transport at a cost of $8000 cash equivalent.
The company will also pay normal terminal benefits, salaries for the month of February, 3 months’ notice salary in lieu of notice, cash in lieu of accrued vacation leave days as well as payment of pensions in terms of pension fund rules.

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