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Chinese contractors under scrutiny

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Chinese construction firms yesterday came under scrutiny after the National Employment Council for the Construction Industry of Zimbabwe (NECCIZ) accused them of flouting the country’s labour laws.

NECCIZ secretary-general Dzokamushure Taruvinga told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare his organisation had received several reports of abuse by Chinese contractors.

The committee is chaired by Mazowe South MP Margaret Zinyemba.

“There is continued infiltration into our sectors by the Chinese companies mostly in the construction industry, who disregard laws of the land and there are so many complaints about Chinese contractors from workers,” Taruvinga said.

“We expect the Chinese to co-operate with workers, but to no avail. They continue attacking them in workplaces, verbally assaulting them, saying they are suffering and they came to help them.”

He said the Chinese forced their employees to work overtime without additional pay while others issued out payslips written in Chinese which workers did not understand.

“If the Chinese are confronted with any issues pertaining to their workers’ plight, they purport not to understand English and want interpretation in their native language which neither workers nor representatives know and they say their interpreters will come from China,” Taruvinga said.

Taruvinga suggested to the committee that workers be taught the Chinese language to enable them to avoid cases of communication breakdown with their Chinese bosses.

He said as the NEC for construction workers, they had agreed on a minimum monthly wage of $240, but most Chinese still failed to pay the agreed amount.

But the committee asked him to bring evidence of the allegations against Chinese employers in his next parliamentary appearance.

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