BY WILLIAM MILASI
Workers at Jena Mines in Silobela have said they have gone for nearly three years without consistent salaries.
Jena is owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) who owns Jena Mine, Elvington Mine as well as Sabi Mines.
Of the three Jena is the only company which is fully operational, albeit at a loss, while other two Sabi and Elvington are under judicial management and care and maintenance, respectively.
Workers who spoke to the publication on condition of anonymity indicated that the though the company was operational for nearly three years the company has been failing to consistently settle its financial obligations.
“I don’t know why the company is failing to pay us full salaries whilst we smelt over 7 kg per week. The company has told us that the reason they are failing to settle our amounts in full is because they are saddled with other obligations,” one of the workers at the company said.
The worst hit it has been gathered are workers with lower grades.
At its peak Jena Mine used to employ more than 630 staff.
The number of employees has since dropped and is estimated to be around 525.
“It is now almost three years now since the company has been struggling to settle our salaries. There is now a serious backlog. This simply translates to an unbearable situation where we are now failing to pay $20 tuition for our primary school going children,” an employee said.
Jena has the capacity to produce 450 tonnes of ore per day.
Workers are also claiming that money deducted for the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) might not be remitted.
“We have fears that money which is deducted for MIPF is not being remitted which becomes a problem when one leaves Jena Mine through pension or resignations,” workers contend.
Questions sent to ZMDC were not responded to by the time of publication.
ZMDC was established by an Act of Parliament No.31 of 1982.
Last year ZMDC is believed to have secured $6 million funding for recapitalization of Jena Mine.
The mine amongst other issues has been battling antiquated equipment and unreliable power supply due to non-payment of arrears.
The mine also has had some of its properties attached following its failure to pay creditors.