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‘Kanyekanye underpaying workers’

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The Zimbabwe Furniture, Timber and Allied Workers’ Union has accused Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president and Allied Timbers chief executive officer Joseph Kanyekanye of underpaying workers at his company.

Union president Rwatipedza Chigwagwa on Monday told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service and Labour chaired by Mazowe South MP Margaret Zinyemba that Kanyekanye had failed to lead by example.

“Salaries in the furniture, lumber and timber sector are not going by award or negotiations and to our surprise some of the people who lead these companies are well-known characters who appear on television like Allied Timbers CEO Joseph Kanyekanye,” said Chigwagwa, while giving evidence in Parliament on Monday.

“He is not being exemplary, he is a big man, but when it comes to exploitation of labour and non-remittance of union or statutory deductions, you find they are the biggest culprits.”

Kanyekanye was not available for comment as his mobile phone went unanswered. The union told the committee the minimum wages in the industry ranged between $150 and $220 per month, but most workers were taking home as little as $87.

Chigwagwa said the current political situation coupled with the indigenisation policies had forced many players in the industry to avoid engaging full-time employees.

“Employers do not know what is going to happen after elections and for them to engage someone as a permanent employee they think their business survival is not stable.

“Indigenisation also scares them and they end up casualising labour because it is easy for them to terminate contracts instead of paying retrenchment packages,” he said.

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