BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
WORKERS at a Bubi-based Chinese gold mining company, Ming Chang Sino Africa Mining Investments (Pvt) Ltd, have taken their employer to the national employment council (Nec) for the mining industry over underpayment of wages.
At least 34 employees, who are being represented by the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (Zdamwu), are claiming that the Chinese company owes them over $154 000 in underpayment of wages and gratuities.
However, on April 12 this year, Ming Chang, which operates a lime factory in Bubi district, approached the labour court seeking an urgent application for a show cause and disposal order against its 34 workers.
It argued that the employees had engaged in an unlawful collective job action without cause.
The mining company claimed workers were demanding back-pay, salary increments, transport allowances and company provided accommodation.
“…respondents (workers) and any other employee who was involved in the unlawful strike at Ming Chang Sino Africa Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Bulawayo Lime Factory and Bubi district, Bulawayo, be and are hereby dismissed from employment,” the application read.
But workers dismissed the allegations, arguing they did not embark on a strike, but were locked out of the premises by the employer.
Zdamwu general-secretary Justice Chinhema accused Chinese companies of violating local labour laws.
“We have said if the Chinese are genuine investors, they must come here and comply with the laws of Zimbabwe. They must comply with our labour laws, not what is happening now. That protection that they have claimed to have, we have found out it is not there,” he said.
“There is no that super protection that they allege. Yes, we have got corrupt elements within the government and within the political set up who protect these people, which is corruption. This must also stop,” Chinhema said.