A local trade union, Progressive Agriculture and Allied Industries Workers Union of Zimbabwe (PAAWUZ) has condemned the violation of the Child Labour Act by some farms in Mazowe District.
In the wake of Covid 19 pandemic induced challenges, several children in farms are being employed in a bid to increase household incomes for their families, a gross transgression of the Labour Act.
PAAWUZ secretary-general Mr Philip Mafundu said several parents are letting their children work in tobacco fields in a bid to raise money for fees and food. He, however, urged farms to guard against such violations due to their negative effect on the labour market.
“In a recent fact-finding mission, we conducted in both Tavydale and Blackforby farms in Mazowe we encountered rampant child labour practices with the parents of the children confirming that they have no option to stop the contravention of the laws since they are failing to pay for fees, clothes and food for the children.
“As a trade union in a country affected by sanctions and trade restrictions and in much of need of production we are worried by the activities we are witnessing in many of these farms around Mazowe district,” said Mafundu.
The Labour Act Chapter 28:01 section 11 is clear about the employment of young persons as it says no employer shall employ any person in any occupation who is under the age of sixteen years.
However, in a comment, Tavydale owner Mr Nick Mattison could neither deny nor confirm the existence of child labour except saying that the unions have been threatening to expose him through social media.
“The issue is political as PAAWUZ is trying to get membership from our workers and has been threatening to expose me through social media,” said Mattison.