Workers at Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane have reportedly downed tools following a standoff with management over poor remuneration.
While productivity at Murowa Diamonds has been at full capacity this has not been translating to improved wages and other benefits for the workers.
The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU) and the Centre for Natural Resources and Governance (CNRG) in a statement called on Murowa Diamonds to immediately address the challenges faced by workers.
“The Centre for Natural Resources and Governance (CNRG) and Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU) have noted with grave concern ongoing labour and salary disputes which have culminated in the imminent downing of tools by mine workers at Murowa Diamonds in Zvishavane.
“It is noteworthy that productivity by mine workers at Murowa Diamonds has been at full capacity with the company operating at full throttle. However, this has not translated to salary disbursements and other benefits for the workers. This demonstrates that the welfare of workers is not a priority for Murowa Diamonds. What matters to them are profits generated from slave labour,” the statement reads.
Some of the issues raised by workers include non-payment of salaries, 14/7 roaster not being ratified, short-term fixed contracts of mostly 1 month, non-functioning of the workers council, non-functional transport system, poor salary scales against the proceeds from minerals being mined.
Consequently, ZDAMWU and CNRG contend that the situation has largely exposed the mine workers who are invariably the most important stakeholders in the diamond value chain.
“Workers are struggling with meeting very basic family needs such as buying food, paying school fees, and covering medical expenses. In addition, we are equally concerned with the plight of female mine workers who become more vulnerable when working in such desperate conditions. This can lead to increased stress and anxiety, and a decline in the overall quality of life for the workers and their dependents and yet this is very avoidable,” read the statement.
The statement called on the company to address the challenges.
“As ZDAMWU and CNRG we are calling upon Murowa Diamonds to address the challenges faced by its workers. Murowa Diamonds must take immediate action to address the pressing labour disputes, wage issues, and poor working conditions. We are aware that Murowa Diamonds is a member of the Natural Diamond Council, which aims ‘to promote the positive and sustainable development of the global diamond sector’.
“Certainly such high standards cannot be attained when workers’ welfare is neglected. The daily risks taken by workers to liberate diamonds from the belly of the earth must be honoured and fairly remunerated,” the statement read. – (New Zimbabwe)