KADOMA — Workers at a gold mine, the centre of a wrangle between Jamson Rushwaya and businessman Patterson Timba, have downed tools over an alleged outstanding $1,2 million wage bill.
Report by Blessed Mhlanga
More than 300 employees of Tolrose Mine downed tools on Sunday after management, led by Rushwaya, allegedly refused to pay workers “contingency money” for them to meet basic daily needs.
National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ) president Tinashe Magwira confirmed the standoff at the mine and accused management of being insensitive to the workers’ plight.
“Our members at the mine have gone on strike owing to unpaid salaries and wages and a very insensitive management which has refused to feel for its suffering workers,” said Magwira.
NMWUZ said workers at the mine had not receiving salaries since 2011.
“The workers have been very understanding and (have been) waiting for their money for almost three years. Recently they approached management and pleaded to have at least minimum payouts of $80 per month while the company got back on track, but that plea fell on deaf ears, leading to this strike,” said Magwira.
Co-director of the mine Anne Rushwaya said she was not aware of the strike or that the company owed workers $1,2 million.
She could, however, not furnish NewsDay with reasons why workers had not turned up for work since Sunday, saying instead that she needed to speak to her lawyers first.
“This mine has a lot of issues which are before the courts and for me to comment on those issues before speaking to my lawyer would be dangerous. I, therefore, have to consult first,” she said.
Magwira said the union was now left with no choice, but to register their $1,2 million outstanding wages and salaries with the High Court so that property belonging to the company could be attached.
Tolrose Mine remains at the centre of an intense ownership wrangle with the matter still before the courts.
The long-standing dispute between Timba and Rushwaya over the gold mine turned bloody last year when two workers were shot and killed during a fight over ownership of the mine.