Forced To Fire

All the trade unions represented were informed early last year of the inability to continue production beyond end 2001, due to extremely low levels of new orders, company said.

rnrnAccordingly, company has offered the entire workforce a Volunteer Retirement Scheme worth up to 40 months salary, which will result in some employees drawing close to 70 months salary with gratuity payment.

rnrnBut, the unions have decided not to accept this offer and launch a protest campaign, forcing the company to make an application to Labour Commissioner for termination of employees under the Termination of Employees Act.

rnrnAll operations of the factory have ceased by December 2001, but Unilever continues to pay the wages of all employees until the Labour Commissioner decides on compensation payable, company said.

rnrnDuring better times in 1998, the Mabola plant produced 2,200 metric tonnes of tea bags for exports. Since then, orders have rapidly dwindled, due to crisis in Russia and many consumer countries resortin