Green Fuel workers down tools

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OVER 500 workers at Chisumbanje ethanol plant, Green Fuel, have downed tools in protest over non-payment of salaries for the past six months, raising fears that the industrial action could plunge the country into a serious blended fuel shortage.

BY STAFF REPORTERS

The workers have vowed not to return to work until their salary arrears are cleared.

They alleged that Green Fuel general manager Conrad Rautenbach had been paying engineers and other management staff, yet the bulk of workers who drive production have not been paid.

The workers are also demanding improvement in their working conditions.

Efforts to get a comment from Rautenbach hit a brick wall as his mobile phone went unanswered, while one of the managers, Raphael Zuze, said he was not aware of the strike as he was away in Mutare.

Arda board chairman Basil Nyabadza also professed ignorance on the demonstration.

“I am not aware of that information as yet. Call Green Fuel directly,” he said.

But one of the workers who spoke to NewsDay on condition of anonymity said the workers had only been paid January salaries since last October and 10 harvester operators and six truck drivers had so far been fired for demanding their salaries.

Meanwhile, about 100 Mbada Diamonds workers who went on strike last Friday demanding payment of their outstanding salaries are now facing disciplinary action after the miner declared the job boycott illegal.

Zimbabwe Diamond Miners Workers’ Union secretary-general Justice Chinhema said the strikers were being victimised and they had dispatched legal representatives to rescue them.

“We told them to go back to work on Friday because their strike was illegal, but they did not listen,” Chinhema said.

The workers across the diamond mining sector have gone for months without salaries as their employers were reportedly experiencing cashflow challenges.