Mozambique: Sugar Workers On Strike

Maputo — Workers at the sugar plantation and mill in Xinavane, in Maputo province, have gone on strike because they say the management has failed to pay them a wage increase agreed in July.

One of the strikers, Augusto Cossa, told the Maputo daily “Noticias” that, under the agreement, the management agreed to a wage increase as from October. But when the workers received their pay packets on 31 October, they found they were the same as in the previous months. There had been no increase.

The strikers say they will not return to work until the management explains why it has not implemented the July agreement.

“The workers want to work, but what was promised is still owed to us”, said Cossa. “That’s why we’re here demanding our rights. We’re not going to move until we receive what we’re entitled to”.

The strikers also accuse the Sugar Workers’ Union of doing nothing to ensure that the new wages are paid. “We don’t have a union here”, Cossa said in disgust. “At the very moment when they ought to be supporting the workers, they put themselves on the side of the bosses”.

On Wednesday, the second day of the strike, matters took a turn for the worse when the strikers threatened to destroy company property. The threat was not carried out, because a police unit was mobilized to protect the premises at the request of the Xinavane management.

“Noticias” adds that all attempts to obtain comment from the company’s management or from the union have failed.

The Xinavane plantation and mill are owned by the South African sugar company, Tongaat Hulett.

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