Mine workers cry foul as employers backtracks on USD payments

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By Staff Reporter

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor John Mangudya’s Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) made earlier this year, is posing serious headaches for workers in the mining sector as employers are now backtracking on salary payments in US dollars.

Workers in the mining sector have demanded that their salaries paid in the US dollars as minerals are trading in hard currency but employers seem to have backtracked following the announcement of the MPS.

Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary general Justice Chinhema said the majority of mine owners are now backtracking on the commitment to pay salaries in US dollars following the Monetary Policy Statement.

“There is distortion especially on US$ and RTGS$,” Chinhema said in an interview.

He added: “Before the Monetary Policy announcement some mines were paying their employees’ salaries in US$. Some were paying full salaries in the greenback, other mines half of the total amount and others a quarter depending on the mine.”

Chinhema said the chamber of mines had expected to be given retention of above 90% so as to maintain 100% US$ salary payments but this did not happen.

The workers have further demanded remuneration based on the Poverty Datum Line (PDL), adding that their salaries should also be in line with their regional counterparts in the mining sector.

According to the labour representatives, the miners feel short-changed by their employers and argue that the minerals are paid in the coveted US dollars whilst they receive the “devalued RTGS$.”

They argue that despite bringing in a large chunk of the country’s foreign currency they remain among the country’s lowest paid workers in an industry which is labour intensive, high risk and hazardous to health.

“Since the announcement of the 2019 national budget and Monetary Policy the plight of the workers has worsened,” Chinhema said.

Mangudya announced the introduction of what he called RTGS$ a euphemism for the bond note that is not officially trading with other currencies after the re-introduction of the inter-bank market.