By Staff Reporter
SEVEN NGOs have launched a Coalition of Neglect Against Hwange Women in support of striking spouses of Hwange Colliery Company employees.
According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Organisation (ZimRights) the organisation, comprising the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), Women and Land in Zimbabwe, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), Women in Politics Support Unity (WIPSU), Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), will provide moral and material support to the more than 1000 striking women.
The Coalition Against Neglect of Hwange Women will also pressure the government to address the impasse between Hwange Colliery Company and its workers whose spouses’ strike has gone past the 100-day mark.
“The Coalition Against the Neglect of Hwange Women has set out to mobilise humanitarian assistance such as food, clothing, hygienic amenities and HIV/Aids support services by engaging humanitarian organisations,” the organisation said in a statement.
According to the statement, the coalition had already written to various organisations that offer free humanitarian assistance in the country stating the need for intervention in dire situations.
“With runaway unemployment in Zimbabwe, it is hopeless that the Hwange workers will find employment elsewhere or other sources of livelihoods to sustain themselves and their struggling families,” ZimRights said.
“As the protest progresses, the women have started to face challenges with regards to their basic human needs such as food, shelter (they use a rented tent), hygienic amenities and water, while the camping has caused a social strain in their lives”.
The spouses of the Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL)’s workers have been camped at the firm’s premises with their young children since 2013 in an entrenched labour dispute over owed salaries.
The government has a 43% stake in the operations of the local stock exchange listed miner, although even acknowledgement by the President Emmerson Mnangagwa this year of the need to address the standoff has not yielded anything yet.
Despite the protest, the HCCL has appeared impervious to the protesters’ demands and is yet to pay its obligations to the workers, who have been struggling to make ends meet in the harsh economic environment in the country.
HCCL had sought for a court order to evict the protestors from the entrance to its management offices, but High Court Judge Justice Lavender Makoni turned down the application on February 27, 2018.