By Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary general Justice Chinhema has called on government to deport Chinese employers caught abusing their Zimbabwean employees.
This follows an incident in which a Chinese mine boss in Gweru shot and injured two employees following a stand-off over wages.
“The attitude by the Chinese now requires our Zimbabwean government to raise the red flag and ensure that the culprits are either deported back to their country or alternatively face the full wrath of the law and severely punished as a deterrent measure,” Chinhema said in a statement.
He described the shooting of Wendy Chikwaira and Kennedy Tachiona as unfortunate.
“This comes barely a week after another Chinese employer pointed a gun at an employee at a mine in Zvishavane over a salary dispute and the union condemns these rampant acts in the strongest of terms, especially the use of fire arms by mostly Chinese employers to settle labour disputes.
“Since the invasion of the mining sector by the Chinese, incidents of beatings, harassment and ill-treatment of workers by armed employers are rife and what is more worrying is that these employers brag about their political connections,” Chinhema said.
The veteran trade unionist warned all Chinese employers in the extractive sector to desist from using “colonial tactics and habits” in handling labour disputes.
“We have, for a long time tolerated these brutal actions by these so-called ‘all-weather friends’ against innocent workers and other peace-loving citizens of this country and we have reached breaking point,” he said.
Chinhema said labour disputes must be dealt with, within the confines of the law.
“For a long time, the union has queried the Chinese’s sincerity as investors in this country as they have proven beyond doubt that besides mistreating their workers, they are also certified looters and ‘bloody’ with very little of their investment benefiting the country,” he said.
The union boss said his organisation was in consultation with its membership to try and forge a collective front against continued abuses by Chinese employers countrywide.
He expressed dismay the Zimbabwean government was reluctant to stamp its foot and call Chinese employers to order.
Chinhema cited neighbouring Zambia which has deported those found ill-treating and abusing its citizens especially workers in their mining and construction sectors.