Swaziland: SAPWU reaches agreement in Ubombo Ranches
On 5 July the sugar workers union of Swaziland, SAPWU, signed an agreement in Ubombo Ranches, an Illovo Sugar subsidiary, retroactive to 1 April. The agreement grants a 7.5 percent wage increase across the board. Other benefits include an education allowance of 1,000 Swazi lilangeni per family per year (increased from 450), and such allowance will increase to 1,700 in April 2012. The cane carrying bonus applicable when weather conditions make work harder than usual went from 6 to 13 lilangeni per day. (USD 1.00=SZL 6.70) With information from Archie Sayed, SAPWU general secretary.
Mozambique: Minimum salaries in sugar agreed
The country-wide wage negotiations between the sugar workers union, SINTIA, and the sugar producers association, APAMO agreed to 2,075 meticais per month as minimum wage for the sugar sector. After this, negotiations were taken to the enterprise level where SINTIA local committees negotiate with management based on the minimum wage agreed by SINTIA and APAMO and in relation to the local circumstances. The minimum wage in Marromeu and Mafambisse was set to 2,080 meticais, 2,280 in Xinave and 2,300 in Maragra. (The South African Tongaat Hulett operates in Mafambisse and Xinavane, while Illovo Sugar owns Maragra.) With information from Alexandre Munguambe, SINTIA general secretary.
South Africa: Sugar-sector wide agreement reached
The South African sugar sector finalised negotiations on 11 August under the national Sugar Bargaining Council, which comprises representatives of employers and three unions representing employees. The agreement covers the period from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012, and calls for a wage increase of 8 percent across the board on the basic wage/salary for the close to 5,000 workers covered by the Council. Also that the medical aid maximum subsidy (50:50) is extended to the Mediplus Plan of Medishield. With information from Ali Mdluli, FAWU Sugar Coordinator.
Rwanda: Duty-free sugar imports sought
Rwanda requested the East African Community (EAC) to waive import taxes on sugar from outside the block as an incentive to increase supply, stabilise prices and avoid a shortage in the local market according to Business Time. Once the waiver is approved, Rwanda may import 50,000 tonnes of sugar from Latin America and Asia in the next six months.
Sugar imports from outside the EAC and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA) attract a customs duty of 100 per cent on CIF values. It also has a Value Added Tax (VAT) of 18 per cent, and an extra 5 per cent to importers without certificate of compliance. In addition, local sugar importers said that high sugar demand from DR Congo and Sudan has affected supplies to the EAC. By end of July, the government limited the wholesale price of sugar at 36,000 Rwandan francs (USD 60) for a 50kg bag, after prices raised to 1,000 francs per kilo from about 780 francs in April.
Rwanda’s sole sugar producer, Kabuye Sugar Works, is owned by Uganda’s Kakira and produces some 12,000 tonnes per year.
Nigeria: Nigerian-Chinese partnership for ethanol refineries
Global Biofuels Ltd., a Nigerian energy company, in partnership with Hong Kong’s COZA International Ltd. and China’s WEMET International Complete Plant Engineering Co., plans to spend USD183 million on ethanol refining plants in West Africa, according to Bloomberg, quoting a report by The Guardian. The first phase of the project will start in the third quarter of this year in Nigeria’s south-western Ekiti State.
Zambia: IUF Global Sugar / NUPAAW Workshop
Seventeen representatives from the sugar branches of National Union of Plantation Agricultural and Allied Workers (NUPAAW) met for an IUF Global Sugar workshop from 25-27 July 2011 in Mazabuka, south of Lusaka, centre of the sugar industry in the country.
The workshop heard reports from the sugar branches, and from NUPAAW headquarters on wage negotiations during the past year.
Negotiations for 2010/2011 in Zambia Sugar reached a 12 percent wage increase for permanent workers, and 8 percent for seasonal workers. In Kafue
Sugar, the agreement was for a 10 percent wage increase across the board, but negotiations in the Joint Industrial Council (JIC) proved difficult, as they cover workers represented in a wide range of crops allowing employers in more profitable operations to push for lower standards, normally associated with small scale farms. The union has proposed to change the way in which negotiations take place to respond to these differences.
The workshop also decided on future activities to be implemented between IUF Global Sugar and NUPAAW, which focus on the upcoming negotiations in Zambia Sugar and on Women Workers in Sugar. The workshop was part of the IUF Global Sugar project in East and Southern Africa, supported by the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Auto Workers (SJF-CAW). Further information on the workshop is available on the IUF Sugar Site at http://www.iuf.org/sugar/2011/08/zambia_iuf_global_sugar_nupaaw.html
Africa Sugar Digest is produced thanks to the IUF Global Sugar project in East and Southern Africa. It appears as news becomes available. Contributions are welcome. The IUF African sugar project is supported by the Social Justice Fund of the Canadian Auto Workers (SJF-CAW), with contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) through the Labour International Development Program of the Canadian Labour Congress (LIDP-CLC).