Mine workers on Friday accepted a wage deal with mining firms, putting to rest what some industry players had feared negotiations could reach a deadlock.
Union leaders told The Herald Finance & Business they accepted a 22,2 percent pay increase to be backdated to January this year. This will see the lowest paid worker earning $22 000.
Workers will also be partly paid in United States dollars. The collective bargaining for the industry is held quarterly and mine employees have been traditionally represented by the main wing Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe(AMWUZI).
Workers were demanding a wage increase of 100percent to be fully paid in foreign currency. But this was rejected by the miners, arguing that they are retaining only 60 percent of export proceeds. Paying employees in foreign currency would affect viability given that labour constitute 30 percent of the expenditure. Besides, some mining companies, such as coal miners are not exporting.
The workers also wanted to be paid a Covid-19 allowance since mining companies were classified as an essential services and was allowed to operate during lockdown period.
“It was a mutual agreement . . . Both parties understood each other,” Chamber of Mines chief executive Mr Isaac Kwesu said in an interview.
An official with AMWUZ said “this would be reviewed during the second quarter.”
Last week, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (ZDAMWU) had warned of an unspecified action if mining companies do not come up with a new salary offer for the first quarter of this year.
ZDAMWU has a membership of nearly 11 000 mine workers and has been participating in the wage negotiations at works council level. However, it has not been accommodated at National Employment Council due to some legal technicalities.
The mining industry is among sectors expected to help the recovery of the economy. Last year, export earnings from the industry contributed 73 percent of the country’s total exports. Herald.