HomeBusinessMine workers get 108% wage hike

Mine workers get 108% wage hike

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BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

ZIMBABWE’S mining industry workers have been awarded a 108,5% wage hike following collective bargaining negotiations, which will see the lowest paid employee in the sector earning $93 074 per month.

Before the adjustment, the least paid employee in the mining sector was earning $44 640 a month, while the highest was getting
$103 536.

With the current adjustment, the highest paid employee will now be getting $215 872.

For the United States dollar portion, the least paid worker is entitled to US$198, while the highest gets US$459.

The new salary structure is for the period April 1 to December 31, 2022.

According to a circular sent to mines, the new salary structure was agreed upon in dual currency (US dollars and Zimbabwe dollars) by the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe on  May 19, 2022.

The agreement carries an exemption clause and non-foreign currency generating companies may be allowed to pay the full US dollar amount in local currency equivalent using the official Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe auction rate.

The portion payable in US$ shall be converted to the local currency at the prevailing auction rate at the time of payment and deducted from the respective minimum wage to determine the balance to be paid in Zimbabwe
dollar.

“For clarity, the total earnings for each grade will be equal to the respective minimum for that grade. Non-foreign currency generating companies are excluded from the requirement to pay in US dollars,” the notice reads.

However, workers were quick to dismiss the salary as a slave wage.

“As mine union workers of Zimbabwe, it’s time to say no to such things because we are not happy with slavery wages. This is a slave wage because when you say it’s a negotiation, it’s not about increasing a figure, but the value. The value is something that you can have so that you can buy,” Solidarity Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Prince Mpala said.

“But they are increasing a figure, they are talking of 108%, 108% of what? What does that 108% buy? Our negotiators are very poor. I think as a trade union, our main mission, all trade unions in Zimbabwe should represent the rights and interests of employees, but as you can see, our fellow brothers are no longer doing that. They are now part and parcel of the Chamber of Mines. These people are as good as puppets. We are not happy with the salaries that are bargained.”

Efforts to get a comment from the Chamber of Mines and Amwuz were fruitless.

Mpala said as a union, they were bargaining for US$590 as a minimum wage pegged in United States dollars.

Inflation pressures have seen the cost of living go beyond the reach of many in the southern African nation as prices of basic commodities have more than doubled in recent months.

According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, the bread basket for a family of six now stands at $120 000.

The mine workers, through their representatives, have been pushing for poverty datum line-linked salaries.

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