A LABOUR court judge recently ruled in favour of nearly 200 workers at Zimbabwe German Graphite Mine, trading as Lynx Mine, who had downed tools against non-payment of their salaries for over 13 months.
By Nhau Mangirazi
The mine is jointly owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and Graphite Kropfmhul Gmbh of Germany.
The court, which sat on May 28 and 29, 2019 before labour judge G. Mhuri, delivered the judgment against the mine, ruling that mine workers should be paid their dues within three months.
Workers’ committee chairperson Sylvester Beremauro took the employers to the labour court so they could be paid outstanding salaries, dating back 13 months from January 2018, before the mine had shutdown, citing viability challenges.
George Ngorima, as finance manager, was cited as first responded.
In his ruling, the judge ordered the employer to pay the outstanding salaries.
Part of the ruling read: “It is hereby ruled that respondent (Lynx Mine) pays a total of sum of $294 891.89 as part of outstanding salaries.
It was also ordered that the payments be made within the three months from June.
The judge also ordered Lynx Mine to pay $69.00 to the Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union (ZDAWU), represented by Sam Makonde, for representing the workers.
ZDAWU intervened after the workers at the mine, situated about 50km west of Karoi town, had downed tools, demanding their dues and improved working conditions.
They claimed they had gone for 13 months without salaries, living in darkness as there was no electricity at the mine compound after it was switched off due to a debt running into thousands of dollars to Zesa.
The workers added that they were drinking untreated water from the mine dam as a result of the power cut.
“Some suppliers have come and grabbed properties as the mine is failing to pay off debts. Surprisingly, 14 containers of graphite were loaded in December, but there are no salaries for us,” one of the workers claimed.
ZDAWU) secretary-general Justice Chinhema welcomed the ruling.