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Mozambique: Union shocked by appalling conditions at plastics factory

4 April, 2018Workers at a Chinese-owned plastics factory in Mozambique are being forced to work in shocking conditions according to IndustriALL Global Union trade union affiliate, SINTIQUIAF, which organizes more than 15,000 workers in the chemical and allied industries.

The union visited IPED Plastics, a factory producing plastic bags in Maputo Province, and found workers sweating in the heat from the machines, with temperatures soaring above 40 degrees. There were no cooling systems in sight, nor were there showers for workers to cool off after the shifts.

The workers also lacked suitable safety equipment and deep cuts were common. Further, the factory had electronic gates and security cameras but no sign of a fire escape, putting workers at risk. There are no medical examinations to check workers’ health at the company, which has been manufacturing in Mozambique for more than 10 years.

IPED pays all the workers the minimum wage of 5965 Mt (US$98) regardless of the type of work they do or the skills they have. SINTIQUIAF is demanding that this unfair job classification be ended. The union also wants workers to be paid above the minimum wage, WHICH is below the recommended amount for workers to be able to buy a basic food basket which costs 16000 Mt (US$264). The union said it is disappointed t the company is exploiting workers to make more profits when it could afford to pay better wages.

Bartolomew Passado, SINTIQUIAF organizing and legal, labour and social affairs secretary, who visited IPED plastics, said:

“While SINTIQUIAF and other organizations in Mozambique welcome foreign investment as it contributes to job creation and reduces unemployment, it distances itself from the so-called investors who make profits through exploiting workers and forcing them to work in unhealthy and dangerous conditions for low wages.”

Adds Paule France Ndessomin, IndustriALL regional secretary for Sub Saharan Africa:

“Health and safety of workers comes before profit. What is happening at IPED Plastics is unacceptable and must be condemned. We support SINTIQUIAF in its campaign to improve health and safety standards and increase wages.”