Diamond workers up salary demands

THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (Zidamwu) has threatened to petition government and mine employers for salaries to be benchmarked against the obtaining rates in the Southern African Development Community region, among other demands.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Zidamwu general secretary Justice Chinhema confirmed the development to NewsDay Business, adding they were targeting about 20 000 signatures before submitting the document on or before January 13, 2020.

The workers are also demanding the use of the poverty datum line (PDL) scale as of December 2019 as the benchmark to come up with a minimum basic wage or salary for the first quarter of this year.

As of November 2019, the PDL for an average family of five people stood at $3 656.

In the southern region, employees in the gold sector earn about US$800 per month, but in Zimbabwe they earn about US$60. Other sub-sectors in the region like diamond pay employees an average of US$1 800 but in Zimbabwe they earn far much less than that.

“As we enter 2020, we the workers of a registered mine in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe petition you all, as you shall be going for the 2020 wage negotiations to: use the ratio according to what is returned by the employer after selling the minerals mined,” reads the petition in part.

“Formulate policy document that promotes production, job creation/security, beneficiation/value addition as well as development in areas where mining is taking place. Use regional salary scales to come up with the basic salary per sub-sector in Zimbabwe. Amend the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) which is outdated especially on classes of work /job specification according to the current environment and systems currently being used,” it reads.

Zidamwu said the CBA needed complete overhaul so as to be in line with the Labour Act Chapter 28.01; fixed contract limitation in line with the Labour Amendment 5 of 2015; code of conduct procedures; clearly define the disciplinary committee, the role to be played by each person in the committee; strict time limits on dispute resolution and clearly separate powers of the designate agent, general secretary of the NEC with the parties to the NEC, create sub-sectors within the NEC and incorporate provisions that deal with safety and health at the work place as well as criminalise non-compliance with such provisions.

“Remove voluntarism on the NEC and create statutory NEC, start discussions on admitting other players who currently are not part to the NEC for purposes of inclusivity. Finally, we demand to be paid a living wage that recognises the value of workers in line with the value of minerals mined,” the petition reads.

“These must form the basis of any wage negotiation and collectively deal with the outdated CBA. They also form part to the promotion of industrial harmony.”

Zidamwu said if all of their demands were not considered, workers in the industry would resort to all available lawful means to have their voice heard.

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