Grain millers trade accusations

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Harare (New Ziana) – Grain millers under the umbrella Small and Medium Millers Association of Zimbabwe (SMMAZ) have accused their bigger counterparts who operate under the ambit of the Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe (GMAZ) of employing dirty tactics to stifle the growth of the smaller milling companies.

The groupings, SMMAZ and GMAZ represent the interests of different sized grain millers in the country.

SMMAZ chairman Davis Muhambi accused GMAZ of using its financial muscle to try and maintain a monopoly in the country’s milling industry.

He said for instance, GMAZ has allegedly been illegally representing players in the milling industry in salary negotiations at National Employment Council (NEC) level.

“GMAZ has been misrepresenting itself as an employers association at the NEC, thereby wrongfully and fraudulently negotiating for wages on behalf of millers, including small millers. For one to be an employers association, it has to be registered with the Ministry of labour and as far as we know GMAZ is not registered,” Muhambi said.

“GMAZ was using this position to delay wage negotiations and effecting back pays going back up to 3 to 5 months at a time, thereby seriously mounting costs that would affect the viability of small millers since SME millers would not have the funds to effect back pays. This would lead to strained relations with employees and in turn affect production and viability of SME Millers.”

Muhambi alleged that a recent NEC meeting had failed to proceed after disagreements over GMAZs status.

“The meeting was quite heated; on the agenda was our (SMMAZ) application for membership and the production of associations’ and unions registration papers. SMMAZ and all other unions had their papers but the GMAZ guys said they never agreed to the production of registration papers in the last meeting but unions insisted that without GMAZ registration papers on the table, they were not allowed to negotiate with them.”

But, GMAZ queried SMMAZs account, highlighting that they were properly registered.

GMAZ spokesperson Garikai Chaunza said; “They are misinformed, GMAZ is a registered organisation and we have certificate of registration which we can provide to anyone upon request.”
New Ziana

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