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Tobacco sales halted as workers strike


The troubled tobacco industry will be left reeling after workers went on strike

Nyambuya's workers desert farm

By Agencies

WORKERS from different tobacco companies in Zimbabwe went on strike here on Friday to press for a 250 percent salary increment resulting in the disruption of sales at the Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF).

Sales at the country's biggest floor had to be suspended to Tuesday next week after only 75 bales were sold out of an average 750 bales that it sells per day.

TSF managing director David Machingaidze said the action by theworkers could not be condoned as it had a great impact on foreign currency inflows "at this time when the country is in dire need offoreign currency."

Machingaidze said the action by workers had inconvenienced farmers, adding that they had to give farmers advance payment pending the sale of the remaining crop.

"The action has been a huge inconvenience to most small-scale farmers. We have tried to assist them with cash advances pending the sale of their tobacco as we have realized that most of them came from far away places and needed money to travel back to theirhomes," he said.

An official with Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco said the company operated with a skeletal staff after most of them went on strike.

The workers, who are mostly casual, earn a minimum of 255,000 Zimbabwean dollars (about 58 US dollars) per month.

There were also allegations from workers that most employers were intending to retrench after the tobacco-selling season, as the industry was facing operational and viability problems.
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