Farm workers decry poor health, safety conditions

Raymond Sixpence

BY OBEY MANAYITI

PROGRESSIVE Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe leader Raymond Sixpence yesterday claimed that the health and safety of farm workers has gone down, as he challenged government and other stakeholders to monitor the situation closely.

Sixpence said in some instances, cases of injuries or fatalities went unreported, something that goes against the spirit of protecting farm workers.

Farm workers in Zimbabwe constitute part of the underpaid cluster of the working class, rendering them vulnerable to abuse in their line of duty.

“Most of the farm owners don’t care about the welfare of their employees,” he said.

“There are no protective clothes and in some instances they can administer chemicals without any protective clothing. The employers are just worried about production. There is dire need to improve the health and safety situation on Zimbabwean farms.

“The situation is very bad to the extent that we have recorded fatalities and injuries in farms, but most of the cases go unreported because the workers fear victimisation and some are unwilling to come forward,” Sixpence observed.

He called on the National Social Security Authority and the Labour ministry to conduct regular inspections at the farms to assess for themselves the health and safety situation.

This comes amid reports that a farm worker in Marondera’s Glensla Farm died on duty last week in a typical case of negligence.

The farm worker, Mukomba Mvinya reportedly succumbed to injuries sustained at the farm.

Farm owner David Tippet confirmed the incident. He said the deceased got onto a machine that he normally did not use. Sixpence said they have received many cases of fatalities or injuries on farms, but employers were reluctant to put in place mechanisms to protect their workers.

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