THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has expressed concern over the alleged spike in labour abuse cases at Chinese-owned firms in the Midlands province.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Speaking on the sidelines of the Workers’ Day celebrations in Gweru this week, ZCTU central region chairperson, Kudakwashe Munengiwa said the union was facing hurdles in dealing with the Chinese, as they continued to flout labour laws.
Since the advent of the look east policy in 2007 by the government, the country has witnessed an influx of Chinese nationals and companies.
“We continue to see increased abuse of workers at Chinese-owned firms in the Midlands province,” he said.
“As much as we deal with all employers in ensuring that they respect workers rights, it is the continued heartless exploitation of workers by the Chinese that is giving us headaches. They (Chinese) receive preferential treatment from the government and they should comply with the country’s labour laws.”
Munengiwa said in most cases, employees were subjected to poor working conditions and without safety clothing.
According to the 2015 ZCTU central region report, new players in the industry, and Chinese-owned companies in Gweru operated under pathetic working conditions.
“Workers are underpaid and the courts are choked with cases from these Chinese-owned companies,” the report noted.
In October 2016, Zimbabwe Diamond Miners Workers’ Union dragged the Chinese-owned Detroop Mine near Chinhoyi to the National Employment Council over unfair labour
practices, non-payment of overtime, assault of employees, underpayment of wages and lack of safety clothing.
In the same year, workers at a Chinese-controlled mine near Doneni, Muzvezve, in Kadoma, also complained of ill-treatment, non-payment of salaries and violation of safety procedures.