BY KENNETH NYANGANI
IT literary never rains, but pours for Redwing Mine workers who have not been paid for the past 15 months, but stayed put at the mine compound, demanding payment of their dues.
Five days ago, Zesa piled on their misery by disconnecting electricity supplies to the workers’ quarters over a $3 million debt.
Almost 600 workers, who are occupying the company houses in Old West village, Liverpool are living in darkness after the power utility cut supplies at the weekend. Redwing Mine is located 20 kilometres north-east of Mutare.
Management at the company yesterday refused to talk to journalists, but a member of the workers’ committee confirmed the power cut.
A member of the Redwing mine workers’ committee, Antony Chivanda said they have been living in darkness for almost five days.
“Our company is failing to pay dues of almost $3 million and almost 600 workers are affected,” he said.
Before the gold mine was switched off, contract and permanent workers had demonstrated at the company’s premises, demanding their dues for the past 15 months. At least 68 workers have already been retrenched without getting their dues. Contract workers have since been told to come to work for only two weeks per month.
The company is now rationing water to the workers amid fears of a possible water-borne disease outbreak.
“The management is saying that since 2018 they have been making losses. They are blocking us from speaking to the company directors,” the committee member said.
“Last week, we demonstrated against the non-payment of salaries. We have 68 workers who have been retrenched, but have not been given their dues.”
Mutasa South MP, Regai Tsunga (MDC Alliance), who visited the company, said the mine management was breaching workers’ contracts.
“What the company is doing is a clear breach of contracts. This requires urgent redress and the workers are bitter because they have families to take care of and what they are doing is inhumane,” he said
“The standard provision of social amenities and utilities, including water and electricity has always been a responsibility of the employer in mining compounds. I have also engaged the company management. My understanding is that they are not performing well and, therefore, they were unable to pay workers. That is what they told me, but I believe they have been insensitive for not paying workers for 15 months.”