Chinese labour abuse confirmed

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The investigation team probing labour malpractices at Chinese companies says it has confirmed abuse of workers by some Asian contractors and that the investigations were getting deeper and progressing well.

In an interview with NewsDay yesterday, the general secretary of the Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trades Workers’ Union (ZCATWU), Nicholas Mazarura, confirmed investigations carried out so far had revealed abuse of workers by Chinese contractors.

“I can confirm that the investigation team on the ground is doing a good job so far, as they have confirmed various forms of abuse on workers by Chinese contractors,” he said.

“We have so far received the report from investigations that were carried out in Gweru and we have forwarded the report to the Ministry of Labour and Social Services.”

Mazarura said the investigation team was now in Chiadzwa.

“The investigation team is in Mutare today (yesterday) and will visit Chiadzwa and other places where Chinese contractors are based,” he said.

Mazarura could however not be drawn into revealing the exact findings in Gweru saying that would pre-empt further investigations.

The latest incident of negligence by the Chinese contractors was the death of Charles Moyo after walls of a 10-metre deep pipeline caved in on him and five others while they were laying pipes on the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane dam link pipeline, about three weeks ago.

Last month Labour minister Paurina Mpariwa said her ministry would dispatch a team comprising officials from her ministry, the National Social Security Authority and the National Employment Council for the Construction Industry, to carry out investigations on the ground.

The investigations came after complaints that Chinese companies in the construction industry were abusing their workers and paying them low wages, among other unfair labour practices.

Earlier this year, the ZCATWU approached the Labour ministry to air its grievances against several Chinese firms in the construction industry who were reportedly violating labour regulations.

China’s engagement in Africa has of late come under the spotlight over gross violation of labour rules.

According to a Chinese website, as many as 750 000 Chinese nationals are estimated to have moved into Africa and companies operating on the continent employed about 80% African staff.