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Mine workers cry foul over new payment structure; say it does not match living standards

WORKERS in the mining sector have said the recently announced new pay structure is too low and does not meet their living standards.

Speaking to this publication, Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied and Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary general Justice Chinhema said living expenses in mining districts are very high and as such the new pay structures fall short of their expectations.

Recently, the National Employment Council for the Mining Industry set a wage structure pegged in United States Dollars.

The proposed structure affects workers who fall under grades 1-13 and was agreed by the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe on March 13.

“This notice serves to bring to your attention that the following new minimum rates of pay for grades 1-13 were agreed upon and pegged in US dollars by the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, on 13 March, 023 and will be subsequently sent to the Ministry of labour and Social Services for Registration and Publication,” it said in a circular.

According to the circular, the salaries in local currency range from $217 299 to $503 994 and in US$ range from US$355 to US$823.37.

Chinhema however said wages should depend on the value of minerals mined by the worker.

“The new wage structure doesn’t meet the expectations of workers. The workers expected something above $500 because the living standards in the mining districts are high. Further, workers expected to see categories of wages basing on minerals mined and recognizing the value of minerals mined.

“Workers are also clamouring for inclusive bargaining, bringing in all unions that have members to the negotiating table so as to speak with one voice. As ZDAMWU we appreciate the setting of the wages in USD, something that we have been talking about and it is a progressive precedent, however, we expected more,” he said.

Chinhema added: “Last year grade 1 was getting 350 USD based on RTGS now it’s $355 but based on USD and an increase of USD portion from 55% to 65 % which takes grade 1 to USD$230 basically the increased figure is $5 but the principles like using USD base and increasing the USD portion is a welcome gesture”. – (New Zimbabwe)

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