Diamond miners want salaries in US$

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THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (Zidamwu) has written to government seeking to be allowed to bargain for salaries in line with the forex retention threshold.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

In a letter to Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, Zidamwu general secretary Justice Chinhema said employers in the mining industry were retaining 55% forex after selling their minerals through Fidelity Printers and Refiners, but in return, paying workers 100% in local currency without indexing them to the interbank rates.

“Workers have been trying to engage individual employers as well as the Chamber of Mines through the National Employment Council to consider paying them salaries or wages in line with what they retain after selling what they mine without success citing that the law prohibits such bargaining because monetary authorities have directed them not to consider such arrangements,” the letter read in part.

“Workers are aware of the Finance Act and all its meaning, intention and objectives. It is from this background that workers seek to be exempted and be allowed to demand salaries or wages in line with what the employers are retaining.”

In the letter, Chinhema said besides it being unfair to the workers for employers to benefit alone, workers believe most of the money that the employers were retaining in United States dollars and cash in local currency was being channelled to the black market, where they get high premiums for Real Time Gross Settlement they then use to pay workers.