Mine workers want US$ wages

THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (ZDAMWU) has demanded that its members be paid their wages in United States dollars or have their earnings pegged above the poverty datum line to cushion them against the country’s worsening economic crisis.

By Nhau Mangirazi

ZDAMWU secretary-general Justice Chinhema told NewsDay early this week that mine workers’ wages had been eroded by the galloping inflation.

“Of great concern to ZDAMWU are the hardships being faced by mine workers and their families when the industry is the second, if not first, foreign currency earner after tobacco. Mine industry workers are currently the lowest paid in Zimbabwe in an industry that is labour intensive, high risk and health hazard. With a minimum of $260 paid through RTGS [real time gross settlement], EcoCash or bond note, the workers are worse off and are earning close to nothing,” he said.

“We demand to be paid poverty datum line-based salaries, in US$, since mine industry returns are in foreign currency and salaries that are in line with other regional countries.”

Chinhema revealed that the union had been dealing with several disputes in the industry, among them non-payment and underpayment of wages, poor working conditions, unlawful dismissals and harassment of workers

“Besides salaries, we want policies that criminalise non-compliance of safety and health policy. We shall also be advocating for a labour desk within the police who shall deal with labour cases in terms of Section 13 of the Labour Act Chapter 28.01 as well as labour inspections to enforce compliance,” he said.

Chinhema said they would first engage stakeholders to resolve their issues, adding “other (unspecified) means will come as last resort”.

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