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Ubombo Sugar Limited Managing Director Muzi Siyaya denies influencing employees to rebel against their trade union,workers describe him as the best MD.

Tuesday, 18th June, 2024

BIGBEND:Muzi Siyaya,the Managing Director(MD) of Ubombo Sugar Limited has vigorously denied accusations suggesting that,he bribed workers to influence them to turn against the leadership of their trade union,the Swaziland Agricultural Plantation Workers Union(SAPWU).

This comes after Malungisa Dlamini,the SAPWU National Chairperson made allegations against the Managing Director, he was interviewed by this Swaziland News on Monday,accusing the MD of being behind the ongoing rebellion by workers against the union.

The Ubombo Sugar Limited workers marched to the BigBend Police Station on Sunday, calling for the resignation of the union’s Branch leadership whose term of office long elapsed, while urging the police to intervene and supervise a peaceful removal of the SAPWU Branch leadership.

“What you need to understand about this matter is that there are forces behind and this include the Managing Director who is fighting the union.We have evidence suggesting that,the Managing Director paid each employee money for lunch just for frustrating and preventing the union from transporting other workers to the May Day Celebration. This is an ongoing effort by the employer to frustrate the union,can you imagine employees blocking buses on their way to the May Day and then get paid by the employer for doing that? On the issue of the Branch Executive,it’s not true that the Branch leadership is refusing to vacate office,we are in the process of overseeing elections to usher a new leadership.But the last time we tried, there was some serious disagreements and we decided to stop and allow the current Branch leadership to continue while we find ways to hold elections in a peaceful environment”,said the SAPWU National Chairperson.

But Muzi Siyaya,the Ubombo Sugar Limited Managing Director when responding to this Swaziland News on Tuesday morning, denied the allegations saying the allegations are without substance.

“I appreciate your professionalism by affording the company the right to reply.There is absolutely no merit to these allegations”,said the Managing Director.

The Ubombo Sugar MD further expressed the company’s support for the trade union that represents workers but, he clarified that,as a company,they want to deal with a union that enjoys the support of the workers and respects governance protocols.

“Finally,as a company, we embrace unionism and respect the rights of employees to have collective bargaining.We cannot manage a business of this size without social partners of which the union is an important player. However,we have to engage with a legitimate union that enjoys the support of the employees and can effectively carry out their mandate.A union that respects governance protocols such as holding regular elections and accounting to their members for the use of public funds.In this case, we are dealing with a union that has failed to abide by its own constitution.It has not held elections for 8 years let alone present audited financial results to their members who are our employees first and foremost. The company was petitioned by 2800 employees requesting us to stop remitting subscriptions to the union until such time that they have held elections and carry an official mandate.That is the gravity of the matter”, he said.

On another note, one of the Ubombo Sugar Limited employees when speaking to this publication, dismissed the allegations made by union against the Managing Director saying, workers have a right to protest and remove their leadership.

“As workers we have a right to protest and remove the Branch leadership if we are no longer happy with them. So for the union leadership to accuse the Managing Director of influencing us to rebel against the union, is undermining our intelligence because the union leadership is suggesting that, we can’t think for ourselves without being influenced. But I can assure you, this is our best Managing Director,every month he holds a breakfast meeting with employees even those who work in the fields, they come wearing their overalls,sit down with the MD and drink tea while discussing issues affecting them.The Branch leadership was told to stop working pending the court cases but they don’t want to resign. Do you know what the MD did?. The Managing Director told us that he will increase our salaries with 5% while waiting for the union leadership of our choice to come and negotiate with the company and indeed, the company increased the salaries without being forced. If it was another MD, he would have refused to increase the salaries and say “I’m waiting for the court case to be concluded so that we can negotiate with your union”.But he did not do that, he increased the salaries and further promised to add more once we resolve our issues with the union”, said the employee.

The Ubombo Sugar Limited employee further urged the current SAPWU Branch leadership to resign with immediate effect.

“The Branch leadership must just resign because their term of office long came to an end,we will elect new leaders. We will also tell the company to stop transferring our subscriptions to the union amid allegations of mismanagement of funds. The company is paying about R50,000.00 to the union as our subscriptions, that’s why these trade union members of the leadership are refusing to vacate office, they are enjoying our money.We can’t demand accountability from Government, calling upon Russell to account for missing public funds only to be bullied by trade unions,if we don’t want them, they must go”, said the Ubombo Sugar Limited employee.


Ubombo Sugar Limited Managing Director Muzi Siyaya denies influencing employees to rebel against their trade union,workers describe him as the best MD.
Ubombo Sugar Limited Managing Director Muzi Siyaya(pic: Observer).