Chinese miner in human rights abuse storm

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI / PATRICIA SIBANDA

WORKERS at a Matobo-based mining firm, Yakutsi Investments, have accused their employer of gross human rights abuses ranging from beatings and unfair dismissals.

The concerned workers have engaged the National Union of Mines, Quarry, Iron and Steel Workers of Zimbabwe with a view to taking the matter to the Labour Court.

The disgruntled workers told Southern Eye yesterday that they had had enough of the abuse.

“These guys are ruthless, I can tell you. Once you complain of poor working conditions at the mine, you get beaten up. We are working for 12 hours a day and only get paid for eight hours which is not fair,” one worker said on condition of anonymity.

“Last week they beat us up and we reported the matter to our union, but to our surprise they fired us all from work without severance packages and January salaries. These guys do not respect labour laws at all,” another worker said.

National Union of Mines, Quarry, Iron and Steel Workers of Zimbabwe regional officer Abraham Kavalanjila confirmed receiving the complaint from the workers.

He said they were in the process of taking the matter to the Labour Court for recourse.

“They approached the union informing us of the abuse. This is not the first time it has happened. It’s like the company has a long history of abusing its employees and we are saying that should stop forthwith. We are engaging them and taking up the matter to the Labour Court. They do not even remit monies to the union,” he said.

Kavalanjila urged Chinese investors to respect local people and the country’s labour laws.

Contacted for comment yesterday, a Yakutsi Mining official only identified as Mike, who is also accused of beating up workers, invited Southern Eye to visit the mine to investigate instead of relying on “false” allegations.

“Who made up the stories? You better come to the company and see for yourselves. Why do you listen to some bad people?” he asked.

He further accused the workers of stealing from him and denied allegations of assaulting them.

“If they are saying that I beat them, you are welcome to bring the police for further investigations. All I did was give them respect and in return they talk s***t behind my back.
Anyway we have CCTV footage here open for 24 hours. All they did was cheat and steal property from me,” Mike fumed.

Yakutsi Mining manager Patrick Mleya declined to comment and referred Southern Eye to the union and the National Employment Council for the Mining Industry.

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