Workers at Movitel, one of Mozambique’s three mobile phone companies, went on strike on Wednesday over wages, and in protest at racist practices n the company.
According to a report in Thursday’s issue of the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, the Movitel trade union committee on Tuesday submitted a letter with the workers’ demands to the Board of Directors and the Executive Management of the company, in which the largest shareholder is the Vietnamese telecommunications company, Viettel.
When there was no reply, and no sign of any interest by the management in negotiating with the work force, the trade union committee called a strike. Workers contacted by the paper said the management silence came as no surprise, since the company had always avoided dialogue with its employees.
“That’s why we’ve reached this phase of going on strike”, said one worker. “These gentlemen don’t want to talk to anyone. We’ve tried everything but we’ve got nowhere”.
The trade union committee is demanding that the management clarify the model used to calculate wages at Movitel, particularly the wage differential between Mozambicans and foreigners in the same professional category and doing the same job.
The strikers also claim that they work under dangerous conditions without adequate protection, The list of grievances also includes excessively long working hours and the company’s failure to pay overtime, and alleged disrespect and racism practiced by foreign managers towards Mozambican workers.
Attempts by “Mediafax” to obtain any reaction from the company management came to nothing, with the managers refusing to make any comment.
The strike is centred on the Movitel “Command Centre”, where there are around 150 workers, most of them Mozambicans.
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