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New farmers fail to pay workers


More than half of the newly-resettled farmers are failing to a pay a paltry wage of $59 per month to their workers’ more than a decade after the government handed them free pieces of productive land.

General Agricultural and Plantation Workers’ Union general-secretary Gift Muti said they were concerned new farmers were not paying their workers adequately.

“The $59 is the legal amount that farm workers are supposed to get, but it is an unfortunate case that we have other employers who are failing to pay the money,” he said.

“More than half of the newly-resettled farmers are not paying their workers.

“Farmers should put their workers on the agenda. They should take farming as a business like any other.”

Muti bemoaned poor education facilities in resettlement areas.

“When the land reform was initiated it resulted in the destruction of schools as most stopped operating,” he said.

“Pupils are learning in barns, under trees and others in farm houses because proper government schools are far away.

“It is government’s responsibility to see to it all children are treated equally on building proper schools for children on farms.”

Muti said they had a membership of around 200 000 farm workers and their plight was complex, as acquisition of some farms was being contested in the courts.

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