By Staff Reporter
WORKERS at Golden Valley Mine in Kadoma Wednesday staged a protest accusing its management of deploying security to use “discriminatory” full body scan on junior workers as they fear it will cause health challenges.
The Australian-owned mine is involved in gold mining.
However, Justice Chinhema, a representative of the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) told NewZimbabwe.com this week, the use of the body scan machine was “discriminatory”.
He added workers were forced this week forced to protest as the mine’s management was unwilling to remove the machine, installed to stop gold leakages from employees working underground.
“It’s true, the workers protested against the discriminatory use of a full body scan on lower-level employees at Golden Valley Mine. This protest could have been avoided if relevant stakeholders had paid attention to our concerns’ raised months ago,” said Chinhema.
“As ZDAMWU, we asked the Zimbabwe Radiation Authority on the safety of the machines, and we did not get a satisfactory answer. We wrote to the government’s chief engineer about the issue last March, but we have not received any response. We went to ZELA (Zimbabwe Environmental Legal Association), and again, there was no response.”
The trade unionist added; “We wrote to NSSA (National Social Security Authority), and there was no response. Workers have been left with no choice but to protest.
“This, then means, the management knew the scanning machine will harm people above all what’s surprising is the scanner will only be used on low grade workers while management is exempted.
“This is discrimination. We cannot say only low-grade workers are thieves. It is an insult when the actual thieves are those who are in managerial positions. We say our safety is out right! We can’t risk our lives at all.”
Last March, (ZDAMWU) wrote a letter to the government’s mining chief engineer arguing the scanning machine would cause health challenges to the workers as this had not been proved otherwise.
“Reports from our members are that the authorities installed a full body scan machine for workers in grade 1-10 when entering and leaving the underground shaft,” Chinhema wrote then to government’s mining chief engineer.
“We are worried that safety concerns have not been fully addressed and if not attended to it can degenerate into serious industrial disharmony. We believe the management has not fully explained to the satisfaction of workers the health implications associated with the use of such machine.
The union also wrote to Zimbabwe Radiation Authority raising the same complaints.
“Through instructions from our members, we are engaging you as a responsible authority in terms of mining (Mining and Safety Regulations) Statutory Instrument 109 of 1990 for a full technical report that will clear all the fears workers, and others have.
“In order to avoid any problems, we suggest you instruct the mine to delay the use of the full body scan machine until all fears are cleared.”
The authority has also not responded.
Meanwhile, NewZimbabwe.com tried to seek comment from Golden Valley Mine through its Human Resources Manager Charles Msimanga, who declined to comment.