Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Farm worker disputes

Farm worker disputes

Farm workers are clashing with new farmers of grabbed properties amid 
reports of bad farm management, changes of employment, appalling 
remuneration and a bleak future.
by Fungai Kwaramba Harare

Many farm workers witnessed how the black farm owners grabbed the land, and 
some were caught up in the often-violent evictions.

“We were better off under Mr Watson,” said one farm worker, Nyasha Mutero.

According to the General Agriculture Plantation Workers Union, there are 350 
000 black farm workers, many of whom thought they would be beneficiaries of 
land reform programmes.

The farm workers say they been paid erratically and are forced to work 
longer hours than they had previously been expected to work. Amid the 
friction is emerging a new class of land barons who, under pressure from 
restive workers have called back the previous owner and leased the land to 
him under a profit sharing arrangement. Mugabe has sternly warned against 
such a practice.

The war veterans occupying white-owned farms in Zimbabwe say farm workers 
are sabotaging their operations because of their attachment to the previous 
owners and their own ambitions to own land.

“It’s difficult to work with these people my brother,” said Richard Gono, a 
successful flower farmer who grabbed his farm from a white-owner in 2003. 
“They feign illness, steal, sabotage the operation and simply refuse to 
cooperate. They would rather be under a white farmer. There is urgent need 
for a paradigm shift. The farm workers need to be told that this is 
irreversible. Baas is not coming back.”

Sources in the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union and General Agricultural 
Plantation Workers Union acknowledged, some off the record, the widespread 
friction between the new black owners and their inherited workers.


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