By Kwekwe Correspondent
WORKRS in the mining sector have made a raft of demands which include payment of salaries in US Dollars as labour unrest continues over the country’s deteriorating economy.
The workers have further demanded Poverty Datum Line (PDL) based remuneration, adding that their salaries should also be in line with regional counterparts in the mining sector.
The miners feel short-changed by employers and argue that the minerals are paid for in the coveted US dollars whilst they receive the “devalued bond note”.
Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) secretary general Justice Chinhema said despite the miners being the country’s key foreign currency earner they “are amongst the country’s lowest paid workers in an industry which is labour intensive, high risk and hazardous to health”.
“The country’s economy is deteriorating, and we are seeing the inflation galloping causing serious suffering to workers,” he said.
“Workers’ salaries have been eroded and they have been robbed of their hard-earned income by the devaluation of the Bond Note, the RTGs and Eco-Cash.
“Since the announcement of the 2019 national budget and monetary policy in October 2018 the plight of the workers has worsened.”
He continued; “We are demanding to be paid in Poverty Datum Line (PDL) based salaries.
“We are also demanding to be paid our salaries in US dollars as the mine industry produce foreign currency.”
Despite working under difficult conditions, most miners are also subjected to unfair labour practices, a situation which Chinhema said must be rectified.
“We need policies that promote and protect labour rights; we believe engagement is key in resolving issues between parties,” he said.
“We will not accept ay form of intimidation as was the case in 2018 were some of the employers were beating up workers.
“We are not employed to be intimidated because you are politically connected. We will not tolerate corruption that has seen most employers selling minerals on the black market while paying us in bond notes.”
Public sector workers have also demanded that their salaries should be paid in US dollars, with junior doctors’ strike over the same issue now in its second month.
The government has however ruled out US dollar wages, saying it does not earn its income in foreign currency.