Struggling starafricacorporation’s workers halted production today in protest over unpaid salaries in the latest labour unrest to hit the sugar refiner.
The workers have been demonstrating at the company’s Gold Star plant since Monday but took their protests to the headquarters today saying they had not been paid since October last year.
“We cannot take this any longer, we have gone for four months with no pay,” an employee among the demonstrators who refused to be identified said.
Chief executive Samuel Mushiri was said to be in a protracted meeting with representatives of the workers union.
Workers have endured late payment of salaries since 2012, and last year, the company lost a case in the Labour Court over salary increases and allowances from 2011.
The company, which is currently under a scheme of arrangement ,after failing to attract buyers for its transport operation, Bluestar Logistics and 33 percent stake in Tongaat Hulett Botswana has been struggling to offset its nearly $20 million debt and has reported consecutive losses over the past five years.
Its losses for the six months to September slowed to $3.154 million from $5.237 million in the previous year. Revenue fell by nearly 60 percent but said it expects to perform better in 2015 because of cost reduction measures and a stable domestic market for sugar after recently commissioning a new sugar plant late last year.
Its major shareholders include the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) which holds an 18 percent stake in the company, Old Mutual and ZSR Investment UK which own 10.7 percent and 8.15 percent. – The Source