BY SHARON BUWERIMWE CIVIC groups say government must be tough on Chinese mining companies, which continue to violate labour laws, including assaulting their employees.
In a joint statement, the Solidarity Centre, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, Domestic Workers’ Association of Zimbabwe, African End Sexual Harassment Initiative, Zimbabwe Domestic and Allied Workers’ Union noted an increase in labour rights violations.
“While Chinese investors have opened up avenues for employment creation, they also brought an increase in labour violations, including physical assault of black labour by the Chinese nationals,” the groups said.
“Government must obtain binding commitments from Chinese investors to respect human rights, including labour rights, as a condition of any investment agreement and exercise such rights under these agreements to ensure full compliance.”
In response, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun claimed Chinese mining companies enjoyed good working relations with their workers.
“Most Chinese employers keep good relationships with local workers,” Shaochun said.
“The embassy’s position is clear that all Chinese companies are encouraged to do more for local people and must comply with the laws, regulations, culture and customs of the host country.
“Wrongdoers must be held accountable.”
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China has become one of Zimbabwe’s biggest sources of investment, but workers unions complain that some of the companies from the Asian country do not respect labour rights.