Mara Phones Factory Workers Complain About Bad Working Conditions and Unpaid Salaries as Business Is Auctioned

Mara Phones Factory Workers Complain About Bad Working Conditions and Unpaid Salaries as Business Is Auctioned

  • Factory workers at the Mara Phones in KwaZulu-Natal have come out to share their grievances about working for the company
  • Employees say they were not given the permanent contracts they were promised and were at times made to eat in bathrooms and changing rooms
  • South Africans are not happy with how employees were treated with one person highlighting that the company struggled to pay employees because it was not supported

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DURBAN - Mara Phones is in the middle of controversy since announcing that South Africa's first smartphone factory can no longer continue with operations and is going on auction.

Employees at the Dube Trade Port factory in KwaZulu-Natal have now come out with claims that the company did not keep many of its promises and they worked under deplorable conditions.

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Mara Phones, workers complain, no payment, 30 minute lunch breaks, terrible working conditions
Mara Phones employees say they were not treated well at the Dube Point factory. Image: Sharon Seretlo
Source: Getty Images

The workers of Mara Phones say when they were first hired, the company promised to hire them as permanent employees after a three-month training contract had expired. The company also told them that during this training period they will receive remuneration between R3 500 to R3 700, according to BusinessInsider.

However, after the three-month training period, employees were not offered permanent employment but did receive a pay increase and were earning R4 500.

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Employees say the most they have earned was R5 300 but were still not given permanent employee contracts. Employees stated that they were supposed to receive benefits such as medical aid.

Factory workers added that the company would sometimes delay paying their monthly salaries for up to a month at times. The factory stopped operations in June 2021, however, employees say they last received their salaries in May 2021 for April.

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Workers say they have also not received retrenchment letters from Mara Phones which means they have not been able to claim UIF benefits.

Mara Phones has not yet responded to the allegations made against the company.

Mara Phones factory workers complain about bad working conditions

In addition to payment issues, workers stated that they were not permitted to eat their own lunches in the canteen if they contained meat because the Thakkar family members, who were shareholders were vegetarian.

The workers said they were made to eat their lunches in changing rooms or in toilets as a result. They were also not allowed to sit down between 7am and 5:30pm, even when there was no production.

Factory workers also stated the lunch breaks were only 30 minutes.

According to IOL, some employees have also taken to social media to share their stories about working for Mara Phones. One employee who goes by the user name @AZinhleputin on Twitter said:

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“I am one of the employees of Mara Phones based in the Dube TradePort in Durban. We haven’t received our salaries since May 2021. We have a story to tell, but no one listens.”

South Africans share their thoughts about Mara Phones' treatment of employees

@Waseem34789849 said:

"Black people taking advantage of black people ."

@Nsikele10455773 said:

"We know that this company was struggling because we blacks were not supporting their products. Then how do we expect them to be able to pay wages and continue as a sustainable business. Sometimes employees should know that their stakeholders will be affected."

@mondrew2 said:

"Don't see the EFF all over this."

Mara Phones smartphone assembly plant goes on auction, SA’s 1st smartphone factory bankrupt

Briefly News previously reported that Mara Phones, South Africa's first smartphone factory, is up for auction. The assembly plant was established in 2019 and received government support but has failed financially.

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Mara Phones smartphone assembly plant goes on auction, SA's first smartphone factory bankrupt

Mara Phones' funders took over the factory and put it up for auction in the hopes that it will be bought as a going concern, which would give the plant's employees job security. Job creation was one of the factory's goals when it was established.

There is also an option for buyers to purchase individual pieces of equipment from the factory if the plant as a whole is not sold, Business Insider reports.

Source: Briefly News

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