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Mine workers threaten crippling strikes over poor wages

“Currently, mine workers are failing to bring issues of salaries and wages on the table as employers argue that they are waiting for NEC outcome. The obtaining situation in the mines is not healthy, the situation has reached a boiling point. Mine workers have been pushed to the limits and are currently suggesting to down tools or go on a go slow as a way of pushing NEC or individual mines to increase salaries in line with the current economic situation.”

By Business Reporter – Saturday 4 September 2021

HARARE – HARARE (Mining Index) – MINE workers are threatening a crippling job action across the country over poor salaries they are currently receiving which they argue is not only below the poverty datum line but has also been eroded by inflation.

In a statement the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has said mine workers are now approaching the last quarter of the year with the Chamber of Mines not making any movement in addressing salary adjustments.

“In our industry, it is common knowledge that mine industry wages are increased quarterly. We are fast approaching the 4th quarter with nothing in place pointing to a wage increase,” ZDAMWU General Secretary Justice Chinhema fumed.

He added that the Chamber of Mines is demotivating workers.

“The Chamber of Mines is not only demotivating the mine worker but also its operations are quite frustrating. What we are demanding as mine workers from the Chamber of Mines is not much. We are demanding a living wage; we are demanding salary adjustments. What we are addressing here is a legitimate concern,” Chinhema said.

Mine workers according to Chinhema last had a salary review during the second quarter and the salaries have since been eroded by inflationary pressure.

“The ZWL$24 500 which the least paid employee in the mining industry is getting is not only enough but also now an insult considering that the food basket is now pegged at ZWL$ 45 000 and this only benefit workers in towns. As far as we are concerned in the mining districts the food basket is around ZWL$ 65 000 or USD$600.

“The mine workers’ salaries and wages have remained stagnant despite the inflationary environment. This also notwithstanding the fact that the mining sector is a vital cog of our economy. As mine workers we are demanding a minimum of at least USD $500 and a covid-19 allowance of USD$100 to make it USD600 paid hundred percent in United States Dollars,” said Chinhema.

Consequently, according to Chinhema, mine workers are getting impatient.

“We are getting frustrated by the Chamber of Mines which has chosen not to recognise workers need for a living wage. Mine industry workers might resort to go slow as a sign of their frustration caused by the employer for failing to adjust salaries in line with the traditional practice of quarterly wage negotiations.

“The works council bargaining is also being affected without the National Employment Council gazetted minimum wage which is always the basis of bargaining actuals. At the moment, works council are used by the employers to push their nefarious agendas,”

“As a union we are giving NEC up to next week to come up with something within the range of the above stated. Or we will be mobilizing for a go slow across the industry or a full job action in terms of the labour act. We have been patient for too long and this is not working. Worse. Any late wage increase also affect the employer,”

“Why must there be backpays always? The first and second quarter back pays have not been paid by other mines. So, who is benefiting from this delay? We are also urging our comrades from AMWUZ to work up from their slumber and start producing results. They have claimed ownership of NEC as their private company and they must account for their monopoly,” Chinhema said. ENDS// www.miningindex.co.zw

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