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Mine workers demand USD salaries; threaten industrial action

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By William Milasi


THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU) is pushing for USD salaries for its members arguing that the ZWL remuneration is being eroded by inflation.

Despite being a major foreign currency earner for the country, mine workers are living in penury due to loss in value of their local currency earned salaries.

Most mining workers get 60% of their salaries in the local currency and 40% is paid in USD.

ZDAMWU Secretary General Justice Chinhema called on employees to redress their plight as a matter of urgency.

“With the runaway exchange rate against the USD, the RTGS component has become worthless and workers’ salaries are losing buying power. We now demand a salary review across the sector to USD600.00 paid 100% without the worthless RTGS.

“Mining communities are in rural districts and big supermarkets are not found there who normally accept the RTGS using their black market exchange rate,” Chinhema said.

“Life is now very hard for the working class, mine workers included and we are challenging mining companies to come to the rescue of their workers. A good employer is the one who remembers their workers during difficult times. This is the time to share profits with hard pressed workers for continued production.”

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In the past weeks, Zimbabwe has witnessed soaring prices and the ZWL has faltered against the greenback,

reaching as low as $5 900 on the official market. This has led to growing calls for salary reviews in both the public and private sector with some employees downing tools citing incapacitation.

He added: “Ignoring this call at mine level might cause a decrease in production. Workers are demotivated due to the slave wages they are earning now. We are also likely to see an increase in mine accidents due to workers’ unstable mental wellbeing.

“If mine bosses chose to ignore us we are going to see an uprising because workers are agitated. We will be joining other workers in the national strike currently being suggested by other mindful movements. The life of workers now is at stake. Government must act now before things get out of hand.”

“We also want to thank some mines who have listened to us and increased salaries, some with $100 which still is below our expectations. Prices of basic commodities and other services are going up in USD currency and we are worried.”