12 April 2014

Mozambique: Cashew Company Denies Mass Sackings Story

Maputo — The cashew processing company Condor Nuts has categorically denied a story which appeared in the Maputo daily paper “Noticias” on 10 March, blaming it for the mass sacking of 425 workers at a factory in the town of Alto Molucue in the central province of Zambezia.

Exercising its right of reply, under the Mozambican press law, Condor Nuts sent a letter to “Noticias” explaining that it is not, and never has been the owner of the Alto Molocue factory. The true owner is the company Giesta, from whom Condor Nuts leased the factory on 28 February 2013, under a contract valid for a year.

Under this contract, Condor Nuts was only responsible for paying the workers with whom it signed work contracts, and only during the period of the lease, and not for any preceding or subsequent periods. Any obligations to the work force outside of the lease period were to be borne by Giesta.

Operating the factory was not as successful as Condor Nuts had hoped and so it did not renew the lease, notifying Giesta the requisite 62 days in advance. The factory was handed back to Giesta, and by 28 February this year, the date of the cessation of the lease, all wages and other payments due to the workers had been paid.

Condor Nuts adds that, although nothing in the contract obliged it to do so, it offered a job to any of the Giesta work force willing to travel to its own factory in Anchilo, in Nampula province. About 50 workers accepted this offer.

Condor Nuts denied sacking any workers. The ones who did not accept the offer of work in Anchilo became once again the responsibility of Giesta. The claim that Condor Nuts had signed contracts with the workers for an indefinite period was also untrue, the letter says - instead the work contracts were only for the period of the lease.

Condor Nuts insists that it “always complied with its obligations to the workers of that factory”. If anything was still owing to the workers, that was the responsibility of another company and not of Condor.

The letter criticized “Noticias” for not speaking with the company management. At the time, “Noticias” said it has been unable to contact the manager, since he was no longer in Alto Molocue. The paper's main source for the mass redundancy story was, the Zambezia provincial director of labour, Boaventura Manhique.

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