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SITEKI – Ubombo Sugar Limited has fired 10 workers for allegedly violating company rules and regulations during the recently ended wage-increase strike.

The workers were found guilty in various charges which, according to the disciplinary committee (DC), occurred during the course of the strike.
According to sources in the workers union, the employees were charged immediately after the strike ended on July 4.

Despite a strong objection by the workers union, management proceeded with disciplinary hearings, in which the workers were found guilty.
The workers were subsequently dismissed but on different days.

The latest employee to be dismissed was Malangeni Mdlovu, a shop steward, who was found guilty in two counts of alleged dishonesty.
Mdlovu, a section clerk, was charged with dishonesty in that he allegedly misled two non-striking workers by rendering false information to the effect that they were against the law by assuming their duties during the strike.

Swaziland Agricultural Plantations and Allied Workers Union (SAPAWU) Secretary General Archie Sayed confirmed that 10 workers have been dismissed by the company.

He revealed that other workers, including the SAPAWU Big Bend branch vice chairperson, were still attending disciplinary hearings.
Sayed said they were extremely unhappy with the Ubombo Sugar’s management for what he termed ‘intimidation tactics’.

“Our strike was legal but management is now victimising workers who participated in it. It is our view as a union that management is trying to intimidate the workers so that they may not participate in future strikes and protests. What they are doing is unlawful since the allegations levelled against the workers are unfounded,” Sayed stated.

Meanwhile, when sought for comment, Ubombo Sugar Human Resources Manager Jobe Mashwama said he could not confirm nor deny the matter.
 “We had previously stated that issues associated with disciplinary hearings are viewed in the same light as doctor-patient confidentiality, and as such, we cannot confirm nor deny what you are stating herein,” he stated when responding to a questionnaire.
Over 2 000 Ubombo Sugar workers downed tools in June this year demanding salary increments.

The workers were demanding that salaries be increased by 14 per cent for low earners (Grade A), 13 per cent for middle earners (Grade B) and 11 per cent for high earners (Grade C), but management was offering 7.5 per cent increment across the board.

The strike started peacefully but later turned violent when vast tracks of sugar cane fields belonging to the company were set ablaze.
The workers were widely blamed for this act of sabotage but the union defended them.

Police officers and members of the army were deployed to guard the company property following a violent demonstration which saw seven police officers rushed to hospital after a scuffle with the demonstrating workers.

Comments (1 posted):

Ogachukwu on 22/08/2014 05:01:19
This is so much illegal

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Are you also of the view that prisoners should not be fed meat and bread?