27 May 2019

Zimbabwe: Green Fuel Sends Home Over 100 Without Terminal Benefits

Chisumbanje — Ethanol producer, Green Fuel has dished out over 100 dismissal letters to its employees amid reports that workers were told "to pack and go" without receiving their dues.

Green Fuels is a joint venture between government's Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and business tycoon Billy Rautenbach. It has monopoly on ethanol production in the country.

The company runs the Middle Sabi Estate that is located 80km from Chisumbanje and there are currently 3 500 hectares of sugarcane planted there in Chipinge district.

Sources told NewZimbabwe.com the company did not give its affected workers notices of termination of employment.

"Workers' contracts were just terminated without notices and we were left stranded.

"Our leave days were also not paid. There is no valid reason which was given on why the company was downsizing," said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Others were up in arms on why the company was retrenching when it was still enjoying monopoly over ethanol production in the country.

"The company is making profits because they have a monopoly in the production of the ethanol.

"This venture was endorsed a national project by government and we should see more people being employed but it's vice versa," said another worker who said he was stranded after termination of his contract.

Another dismissed worker said they were now doubtful the viability of the much-touted project which they felt has gone back on its promises to create employment for locals and those outside.

Green Fuel Public Relations and Communications manager Merit Rurema did not respond to questions emailed to her saying she was off duty.

"Sorry I was involved in a fatal road accident. I am off sick since Independence Day. Please email your questions so that I can forward them to someone to respond you.

"My laptop crashed during the accident and I saw your my emails on the phone but could not forward them," she later said.

Platform for Youths Development Trust (PYD) representative, Claris Madhuku confirmed the developments saying it is worrisome for Green Fuel to dismiss workers despite government's recent approval of 20 percent mandatory blending.

"Armed with government's support on its product, it is prudent for the company to contribute towards the social and economic development of Chipinge community and the nation at large.

"The laying of workers by Green Fuels despite government commitment to worker's justice show high level of insincerity on the part of both government and Green Fuels.

"We have always raised concerns as a community stakeholder to pressure government to rein in on Green Fuel with little success. Green Fuel continues to operate without any considerations for licence as long as they continue to make profit," said Madhuku.

Madhuku said it was time President Emmerson Mnangagwa realised the company was exposing his administration' assumed sincerity to investment through continuously operating without respecting fundamental human rights of local communities.

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