VUMBACHIKWE Mine in Gwanda has come under fire over its prolonged suspension of operations and delay in paying workers’ outstanding salaries.
The National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (NMWUZ) has since filed a complaint with the National Employment Council (Nec) for the Mining Industry in Bulawayo stating that the company has been ignoring legal procedures.
The company also allegedly failed to follow procedures on issue of workers committee elections.
Last month, mine manager None Kananji suspended operations at the mine following a demonstration by workers and their spouses which he blamed for alleged destruction of property at the premises.
He ordered that workers elect a new committee despite the existence of another one. Kananji made the election of the new workers committee a condition for paying workers’ outstanding salaries.
“Workers are, therefore, encouraged to convene hastily to constitute their workers committee as there can never be resumption of operations without an agreed final version of the workout plan. The mine cannot reopen at full capacity without a workers’ committee having been party to the process,” Kananji wrote.
Gwanda-based human rights watchdog, Coalition for Citizens Advocates (Coca) yesterday described the move by Vumbachikwe management as unfair and illegal at law.
“The suspension of workers and the subsequent hearings lacked merit and traction to nail supposed offenders rendering management’s route inept. The agony endured by over 1 000 workers throughout the festive season . . . never bothered them as they continued with their call for workers’ committee elections. . .,” Coca said.
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It appealed to authorities to urge companies to seek legal advice before making key decisions.
Last month, Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union secretary-general Justice Chinhema wrote to the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry Matabeleland South senior labour officer, one T Chisveto after he acceded to the Vumbachikwe Mine management’s call for the holding of elections for a new workers’ committee.
“We are surprised that these elections are being organised at a time when workers are not at work,’ Chinhema wrote.
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