A HIGH Court judge has barred leaders of the Zimbabwe Horticulture Agro-industries and General Agricultural Workers’ Union (Zhagawu) from holding labour meetings at Tavistock Estates in Beatrice, amid allegations the union leaders were disrupting farming operations and accusing the farm owner, Christopher Hawgood, of underpaying his employees.
by XOLISANI NCUBE
Justice Maxwell Takuva granted the peace order two weeks ago and barred Zhagawu leader, Raymond Sixpence from visiting or “making unnecessary meetings to Tavistock Farm without police permission or Tavistock’s consent”.
The court made the ruling after Hawgood took Sixpence to court on allegations of interfering with the farm’s operations, as well as misleading the workers that his union was an affiliate of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).
“It is ordered that the Zimbabwe Republic Police Beatrice is, hereby, empowered to arrest the above-named defendant (Sixpence) if he fails to comply with the court order,” Justice Takuva’s ruling read.
According to documents, ZFTU wrote to Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri distancing themselves from Sixpence’s organisation.
The letter, which forms part of court record, states that Zhagawu was not an affiliate member of ZFTU and Sixpence was not linked to the federation.
“The seriousness of the activity is reported, whereby, certain individuals, including the apparently notorious Sixpence, are said to have threatened, extorted or acted in a manner that caused financial prejudice to the Commercial Farmers’ Union,” Kennias Shamuyarira, in his capacity as ZFTU secretary-general, wrote.
Documents reveal that Zhagawu has been at loggerheads with Tavistock Farm over the welfare of workers and alleges that the white farmer is refusing to allow his labourers to join the union, a charge Hawgood vehemently denies.