The National Union of Quarry Workers of Zimbabwe has accused Chinese at Ngezi Mine in Zvishavane of allegedly ill-treating and underpaying their workers.
Union leader Onias Munenga said: “Chinese miners are not abiding by the country’s labour laws.
We have been up in arms with them for a long time over underpayment of workers and their ill-treatment. But they cannot adjust.
They do not allow workers to join unions. Those who join unions are retrenched if discovered.
“When workers question them on such issues they are threatened or even beaten up. I was manhandled by the managing director, Jack Chan, who threatened to beat me up if I continued to interfere with the mine’s operations.”
Munenga alleged the incident happened on August 19 last year after he was invited to resolve a salary dispute at the mine.
“With the treatment these Chinese give to workers, it is clear the country is being recolonised with the blessings of our government as these people continue to dominate our local industries,” said Munenga.
Contacted for comment Chan denied the allegations.
“He (Munenga) always comes here to cause a lot of confusion among our workers. Workers do not want to see him here. He is lying that we do not allow workers to join unions. Eighty percent of the workers are members of Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe affiliated to the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions,” he said.
Chan said they were paying workers well, with the lowest paid worker getting $188 per month, hence Munenga’s claims of underpayment were false.
Last week, Mines and Mining Development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire accused Chinese miners of externalising mineral resources thereby depriving Zimbabwe of its much-needed revenue from mineral sales.