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Mining unions petition Labour ministry

“The industry has seven trade unions and only two were selected in a manner which was tainted with corruption and fraud thereby excluding some bona fide trade unions despite the fact that all trade unions in the industry must have seats on the committee for the purpose of advancing workers’ rights and fair labour standards.”

A COALITION of mining workers unions have petitioned the Labour ministry over alleged irregularities and corruption in the selection process for union representatives to the National Employment Council (NEC) committees.

The unions claimed the process, which is mandated by law, was unfairly manipulated to exclude certain legitimate trade unions, thereby denying them a seat at the table to advocate workers’ rights and fair labour standards.

The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (Zdamwu) was recently incorporated into the NEC for the mining industry, joining the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ).

However, in a letter dated June 11, 2024, the unions, through their lawyers Masarire Law Chambers, expressed concerns over the manner in which the selection of the union into NEC was done.

The unions are National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Professional and General Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Solidarity Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Advanced Mine Workers Union and National Union of Mine, Quarry, Iron and Steel Workers of Zimbabwe.

“We write to register our complaint against the NEC for the mining industry and others over the manner in which the selection of members union who shall sit on the NEC committees as required by the law [was done],” the letter read in part.

“The industry has seven trade unions and only two were selected in a manner which was tainted with corruption and fraud thereby excluding some bona fide trade unions despite the fact that all trade unions in the industry must have seats on the committee for the purpose of advancing workers’ rights and fair labour standards.”

“Only Amwuz and Zdamwu were selected. The criteria used was never agreed by all stakeholders and the accreditation was never done properly and verified number of members each union has was never done properly the chairman was never chosen by both parties but rather imposed to the extent that all the other trade unions were removed from the ring and left with only two trade unions.”

The unions noted that the NEC refused with the constitution which they used for accreditation, which they flagged as gross irregularity.

“We, therefore, request your urgent intervention on the issue and the selected trade unions should not be allowed to participate in the affairs of the NEC for the mining industry which has several unions only as well as bargaining for any salaries and wages for the workers. The accreditation and selection done must be stopped forthwith and nullified,” the letter read.

“The affairs of the workers cannot be decided by only two trade unions alone. We have since requested the documents they relied on during accreditation, but they refused to supply the same with us and this prompted us to seek your urgent intervention.

“We, therefore, request an urgent meeting with all the trade unions and the NEC officers and Chamber of Mines to resolve these issues at the earliest convenient date. Failure, we will seek direct ministerial intervention over the issue.”

The letter was copied to Amwuz and Zdamwu. The ministry is yet to respond to the petition. – (NewsDay)

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