‘We are losing a lot of workers in the agricultural industry with some going to do illegal mining and others venturing into the informal sector as a result of poor salaries and bad working conditions,” said Gift Muti, the secretary-general of the General Agricultural Plantation Workers’ Union.
“As a result, we have engaged legislators and Cabinet ministers with regards the issue of wages and working conditions for the farm workers,” he said.
Muti told The Zimbabwean that his organisation was lobbying for improved salaries and better conditions for its members.
According to GAPWUZ, the lowest paid farm worker in the country earns just $65. “What we are saying is that, if we are serious about reviving the agricultural industry, we must take into account the wages of farm workers, because that is what motivates them. You cannot talk about reviving agriculture without talking about motivating the farm worker,” said Muti.
Most farm workers are unable to look after their families yet their contribution to the growth of the country’s economy is invaluable, he added. GAPWUZ is pushing for farm workers to get at least $250 per month. “Imagine getting $65 and trying to buy food and pay school fees,” said Muti.
Poor pay is only part of the picture. Eight families from Wakefield farm in Chegutu were evicted from their homes by their employer Felix Pambukani, after demanding their wages. Some were assaulted.
“We have some bully farmers out there and they continue to violate the Labour Act by ill-treating their employees. No farm worker should be victimised for demanding his or her money. All these issues are demoralising the farm workers and that is why we are witnessing a huge number of them leaving the agricultural sector for other things,” said Muti.Post published in: Agriculture