Mine workers call for groceries threaten to report for work twice a week

By William Milasi

Workers in the mining sector have said there will be forced to report for work twice a week if employers continue to pay them salaries in bond notes.

They are also calling on the employers to consider on monetary incentives like groceries as the economy continues to tank.

In early January the workers made a raft of demands which included payment of their salaries in US Dollars as labour unrest continues over the country’s deteriorating economy.

Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary general Justice Chinhema said the obtaining environment is becoming unsustainable for the workers and they will be forced to report for work twice a week. “And resort to other forms of sustaining their families.”

The miners feel short-changed by their employers and argue that the minerals are paid for in the coveted greenback whilst they receive the “devalued bond note.”

Against such a backdrop, Chinhema said it’s no longer, “ a secret that most mine workers are finding it difficult to bring food on the table of their families, they are failing to send their children to school because the salaries they are currently earning is almost zero despite the industry being the foreign currency earner for Zimbabwe,” he said.

The miners Chinhema said are not only calling for salary increments but, “Encourage parties to consider non monetary benefits in the form of basic food stuffs sufficient for a family of six.”

He said the necessity of the arrangement works in promoting industrial harmony.

“We seek to avid a situation where workers will be forced to report for work for two days only and resort to other forms of sustaining their families,” he said.

There have been growing calls within the union for the workers to be paid in the hard currency as the workers salaries have been eroded by the devaluation of the bind note.

“Our call is a follow up to the demand that we earlier send in October 2018 calling all employers in the mining industry to consider paying salaries in USD. We note that very few employers have seen it as a necessary idea to cushion workers in the current difficult times.

“We also note that those who have considered the demand are paying as little as 2% in USD of the minimum wage of $250 bond. This 2% in real terms is nothing considering the minimum wage currently being earned,” he said.

The miner’s said they must are getting salaries below the poverty datum line and in bond note whilst the employers are being paid for in US dollars.

“The union is now aware that most mines return 55-70% forex from RBZ after sale of all minerals in Zimbabwe. This 5 must now be reflecting on the workers salaries and wages. We expect employers to pay 50-70% of workers’ salaries in USD,” he said.

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