Disgruntled Choppies employees stage sit-in over salaries

Employees at Choppies distribution centre in Bulawayo, Monday, staged a sit-in demonstration citing incapacitation amongst other grievances.

The employees which comprised the administration and the general staff revealed that they are receiving low salaries.

When CITE a news crew visited the premises in Belmont industrial area the employees were milling around waiting for feedback from the workers’ committee which was engaged in a meeting with the management.

The workers’ committee members however came out shortly to address the employees who demanded that the management address them.

“We are earning peanuts, but when people are looking at us they think we are getting paid but we are receiving ZWL$50 000 then those with policies can take home around ZWL$18 000,” said one employee who declined to reveal his name.

The employees said the National Employment Council (NEC) had pegged the lowest paid grade to receive US$230 but that is not being followed and the employer is manipulating the system.

“Two months back, NEC had a meeting with the workers’ committee and others and they pegged that the lowest paid grade should receive US$230, at Interbank rate when they are not paying in forex but this month-end, some employees received ZWL$40 000  in their accounts, that is why people staged a sit-in demonstration,” said another employee.

“This comes after the Human Resources manager and the assistant country manager and we were left with one Indian guy  ‘Sinto’ and in the morning he refused to come out of his office to address the people on what is going on regarding the salaries and claimed that people were taxed thrice thus why the salary is less, but this doesn’t make sense because the payslip  we received later is saying something different, so it doesn’t balance.”

 The employees also revealed that the situation was the same in other branches across the country.

“Other branches are on go slow, I heard that in Gokwe they are refusing to work, the thing is that he wants people to work for peanuts. Shops were not affected but they are also not happy, in some shops they are not working especially shelf packers. Till operators  are just scared because the manager can easily identify who is not working and they will be victimized.”

However, some members of the workers’ committee who preferred anonymity said they had agreed to go back to work following a meeting with the management.  

“We are out of the meeting, people are back at work and they promised to put adjust our salaries,” they said.

An official comment from the management could not be obtained by the time the story was published.

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