Illovo Sugar Malawi Limited employees are set to go on strike to protest against management's decision to introduce clean wage- a new concept in compensation and benefit for employees where all allowances are amalgamated under one head and that may be basic salary.
The employees are also planning downing tools inorder to force the removal of their Managing Director, Mark Bainbridge whom they are accusing of abusing his juniors apart from removing Malawians anyhow from top management positions replacing them with expatriates.
Illovo is a wholly-owned subsidiary of London-listed Associated British Foods and operates in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland.
Threats of industrial strike come almost two months after the company hiked sugar prices- a decision which was sanctioned by Bainbridge himself- despite the country's inflation improving.
Nyasa Times understands that Bainbridge who joined Illovo Sugar in December last year from its sister company in Tanzania abuses Malawians by showering them with insults and other derogatory words.
Bainbridge who is championing clean wage has so far removed local employees who happened to be in top-management positions such as supply-chain, training and Excellency, health safety, performance service and replaced them with expatriates who are said to be his friends.
Bainbridge phones went unanswered, and the company's Public Relations Officer, Irene Phalula demanded for a questionnaire when contacted of which has not responded since last week.
Documented information in our possession reveals that Bainbridge has stopped the company from making donations in form of social corporate responsibility, ordered for removal of car allowances and other staff benefits in favor of clean wage as part of his managerial changes but the employees have described it as not beneficial.
"It is regarded as one of cost-cutting measures. Surprisingly as managing director he continues to fly across the country in a private jet which is more expensive. He eliminated any form of donation to hospitals, orphanages or needy organizations. And he has no regards to our main customers such as Chipiku, PTC, SANA and other retail and wholesale clients," complained one of the employees.
Illovo Sugar Malawi is currently in court after one of its shareholders Prudential Holdings Ltd (PHL) filed a lawsuit last year, accusing it of a series of fraud related charges including making undisclosed payments to Illovo South Africa and its UK-based parent company, Associated British Foods.
PHL chairperson, Ramesh Savjani is accusing the country's sole sugar producer of defrauding its local shareholders by presenting doctored financial statements to mask huge payments made to its parent company.