Starafrica Workers Reject Retrenchment

by Adenike Adeodun

Leading sugar manufacturer Starafricacorporation Limited recently gave 75 employees retrenchment letters, surprising many. The affected workers have expressed their outrage, declining to sign the letters and challenging the company’s legality of the decision.

Robson Nyabadza, CEO of Starafricacorporation, sent a message to an employee stating that the company made the decision in line with the employment contract and current law. The employment contract with Starafricacorporation allows either the company or the employee to end the agreement with a three-calendar-month notice.

The retrenchment letter said, “We regret to inform you that we are ending your employment contract, following the terms in the employment contract and the law. Though the termination will take effect later, we are relieving you of your duties now, offering monetary compensation instead of the notice period.”

A NewsDay Zimbabwe report mentioned the letter offers benefits to the laid-off employees. They will receive their September salary, compensation for three months instead of a notice, and a potential payout for unused leave days. The letter clarified, “The three-month notice starts on October 1 and ends on December 31, with benefits distributed during that period.”

The NewsDay Zimbabwe also reported that efforts to get comments from CEO Nyabadza were unsuccessful.

Adoniah Mutero, the General Secretary of the United Food and Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe, confirmed the receipt of the retrenchment letters and expressed his concerns. He plans to court the company’s decision, claiming, “The company’s decision has no legal basis. The so-called common law they refer to was voided by Amendment No 5. Labour Amendment No 11 didn’t bring back the voided common law position.”

As the company and union face-off, this situation highlights the tension between business decisions and workers’ rights. Industry observers will keenly watch this standoff’s outcome, which may influence similar future cases.

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