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MBABANE – Employees of Rhodes Food Group (RFG) Eswatini are alleged to have blocked trucks and prevented management from accessing their vehicles.

These allegations were made by RFG Human Resources Manager Nompumelelo Kunene.
She alleged that this was despite that the company and the employees, through their union, Swaziland Agricultural and Plantations Workers Union (SAPWU), identified Princess Pholile Hall, which is 50 metres away, as the picketing area. 

According to Kunene, the employees, who engaged on a strike over a 10 percent salary increment, allegedly left the designated area and blocked access to the company factory.

“The action of blocking the access area is greatly affecting the applicant’s operations as the applicant (RFG) can no longer receive goods and also move out goods from the premises.

“The striking employees have now engaged an intimidating gear, that is to say they are threatening the other employees who are not part of the strike action,” said Kunene.
She also stated that the workers had allegedly positioned themselves at the car park where management parked their vehicles and were making it impossible for members of senior management to access their cars.


The veracity of these allegations is still to be tested in court. RFG is represented by Banele Gamedze of Musa M. Sibandze Attorneys while Kwanele Magagula of Sithole and Magagula Attorneys appeared on behalf of the workers.

RFG rushed to court after the employees allegedly breached the agreement that it reached with the union, identifying Princess Pholile as the picket area.
Kunene said they were in court to seek an interdict against members of the union from picketing or conducting the strike action inside the company premises, and threatening non-picketing workers.

RFG also wanted the court to stop the employees from blocking trucks entering and leaving the company’s premises and from blocking the Mahlanya-Luyengo Public Road.
The company further sought an order directing the union members to adhere to the allegedly agreed upon 50-metre radius, which Kunene said was the agreed distance. The company also prayed that the police be directed to ensure that the orders are complied with.

Kunene informed the court that the matter was urgent because the employees had allegedly made it clear that they would continue to picket even on undesignated areas. She alleged that the intention of the workers was to disturb or slow down production.

Kunene also submitted that the operations of the company would be affected because this is the citrus season and the business of the company solely depends on canning the harvested fruit. She stated that if the employees were allowed to picket in the productions areas, the company would be affected financially and that it would affect the workers who are willing to work.

“The company has to meet deadlines and targets which cannot be achieved if the striking employees are allowed to block trucks which bring in raw material and trucks taking out finished products.”
The matter was heard by Judge Nkosinathi Nkonyane yesterday. By consent of the parties, the court interdicted the employees from picketing inside the premises of the company and threatening their non-striking colleagues with violence. They were further ordered not to block trucks moving in and out of the company premises and blocking the Mahlanya- Luyengo Public Road.

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