Mozambique: Wildcat sugar strike ends

A two day wildcat strike at the Sena company, Mozambique's largest sugar producer, ended on Friday, with promises by the company of a new wage scale with fewer levels in April.

Allafrica.com reported that the current wage scale has been in force since 2002, the year when the company's sugar mill, at Marromeu on the south bank of the Zambezi, reopened. No sugar had been produced there since 1986, when the apartheid-backed Renamo rebels destroyed the mill.

The majority shareholders in the Sena company are a consortium of Mauritian companies which have invested around 70 million dollars in rebuilding the sugar mill, and rehabilitating the plantation. The company is currently producing around 100,000 tonnes of sugar a year.

The new pay scale reduces the number of wage categories from 24 to six. According to the head of the Sena company trade union committee, Alberto Joaquim, it is expected to be approved by the Board of Directors in April. It will take effect the following month.

Mozambique's four functioning sugar mills produced a total of 265,000 tonnes of sugar in 2005 - a huge recovery, when it is considered that in 1998 only 39,000 tonnes was produced.