THREE members of the Vumbachikwe Mine workers committee have been suspended for leading a strike by workers on November 8.
The mine declared the strike, which reportedly involved more than a 1 000 people who included 800 mine works, illegal and suspended the three without pay.
The workers were striking over outstanding salaries, a demonstration joined by their wives.
Gwanda-based human rights watchdog Coalition for Citizens Advocates (Coca) has described the move as flawed and a gross violation of workers’ rights.
In a letter dated December, mine manager None Kananji said: “Thus far 20 employees have been charged as a result of the illegal strike and riots, and they await trial. A preliminary statement of damages confirms that the mine has suffered damages in excess of US$2,2 million as at November 30, which amount increases on a daily basis.
“(Workers’ committee chairperson Gibson) Sibanda, Meluleki Moyo and Shelton Ndlovu have been suspended without pay pending investigations. The mine continues to operate on an essential services basis until such a time as it is declared safe to resume operations by the mine manager and a work plan has been approved by the mine management and the workforce through the works council.”
Kananji said management wished to reopen the mine safely and on a profitable basis as soon as possible.
He said all outstanding amounts owed to employees as at November 8, including back pay would be paid to the workforce in six equal monthly instalments; the first instalment to be paid immediately upon commencement of implementation of the work plan.
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“A properly constituted workers committee needs to be confirmed by a confidential vote of the workforce to ensure a proper forum for management of worker relations.”
Reacting to the communication, Coca secretary-general Wilbert Ndiweni said: “This decision was made without the input of the workers because management points to a vacuum which they allege was caused by the short-lived resignation of the Sibanda-led committee,” Ndiweni said.
He said it was unfair for management to inflict more misery on the already suffering workers.
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