By Bongiwe Dlamini | 2019-08-02
It was business unusual for a day care centre as some children had to spend the night after their parents were allegedly locked in at work.
The affected employees are said to work for Africa Chicks; a Poultry and Egg producing company situated at Ngwenya in the Hhohho region.
The incident happened on Wednesday night.
According to sources privy with details to the matter, when employees were about to knock off at 5pm on Wednesday they were told not to leave the farm’s premises. It is said that they were told that they should wait for a truck that was expected to deliver some eggs from South Africa. The arrival of the delivery truck is said to have been expected since morning but when their knock-off time approached without the truck arriving at the farm, the employees thought they could leave because it was not communicated to them whether the truck was still coming or not.
After being told to remain within the farm’s premises, it is alleged that superiors indirectly hinted that if anyone left against the order to remain within the premises would face the music.
Out of fear, the employees are said to have been skeptical about leaving so they stayed.
After 5pm, the premises’ gates were locked, meaning no one could either enter or leave the premises unless authorised to do so. The truck is said to have eventually arrived at 9pm and employees were expected to sort the eggs and leave them in the incubation machine until the next morning.
The about 20 employees are said to have worked under duress until around 11:30pm.
This, according to sources, inconvenienced most of them, especially the females because they had left their children at day care centres with the hope that they would fetch them after work as usual. Although they were transported home after they finished the task, some of the women are said to have failed to fetch their children from the centres because the company vehicle was only authorised to go on permitted routes, meaning it could only ferry employees to their respective places of abode and not go via the day care centres.
An insider said this was not the first time that employees worked overtime into the night due to delayed deliveries.
The source said in most cases, employees fear speaking out even when inconvenienced.
When contacted for comment, the Managing Director Ross Mackie and Hatchery Manager Mphikeleli Ntshalintshali could not be reached through their cellphones as they rang unanswered. However, Motshane Member of Parliament Robert Magongo confirmed knowledge of the matter.
He said after it was reported to him yesterday morning, he went to engage the authorities at the farm where he was told that the employees were asked to work overtime because the delivery truck was delayed at the border post.
Even so, Magongo said should he find that these allegations were true; he promised the farm superiors that he would take the matter up because he could not allow Emaswati to suffer at the hands of their employer.
“I won’t tolerate such to happen to fellow citizens because it’s uncalled for,” he said.
He further stated that information he gathered during his visit to the farm was that one of the female employees’ husband was the one who spread the news that the farm’s authorities had forced the employees to work overtime against their wish.
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