By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (Zidamwu) is suing National Employment Council (NEC) and the Chamber of Mines at the Labour Court after they offered workers a paltry 24% wage increase.
The NEC announced the 24% increment in a circular dated September 28, which it said had been agreed upon for the industry with effect from July 1, 2021.
The increment saw the minimum salary of mine workers increasing from $30 500 to $70 740.
However, Allen Shoko, Phillip Nyajeka, Gracious Sibanda, Mako Butau and ZIDAMWU filed an application to challenge the increment at the Labour Court, where they cited Nec, AMWUZ and CMZ as respondents.
Zdamwu general secretary Justice Chinhema said workers have been left with no choice but to turn to the courts for salvation.
“On 15 October 2021, four mining industry employees approached the labour court, challenging the decision by NEC mining wherein the NEC had issued new minimum wage CBA which abandoned the traditional quarterly negotiations. In any case, the employees were not happy with the minimum of $30 500 that had been agreed between the two parties to NEC, that is Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe and AMWUZ,” Chinhema said.
“As if the new minimum mockery was not enough, to then make it applicable for July to September quarter and extending into the last quarter of October to December 2021 is serious injustice to say the least,” he said.
He explained that it is gross injustice that employees while posting huge profits are paying workers slave wages.
“Most mines are reporting profits countrywide. The capitalists would be understood for taking this harsh stance against the common worker. What about the other party to NEC, the employee representative, Critical questions has arisen? Are the AMWUZ members and workers in mine industry in general happy with the current outcome? Is AMWUZ going to oppose the application before the court? An application meant to advance the interests of the workers! An application which is challenging capital,” Chinhema queried.
“It is common knowledge that there is ever escalating prices of goods and services. It is common knowledge that our Zimbabwean economy is not stable yet. The reason quarterly negotiations were introduced was to cushion workers against inflation. The elephant is still in the room! It is also common practice that during festive season, when demand for goods is high, prices usually go up. Everyone buys clothes and goodies for their families during this period. This is the most important quarter of the year. Even a mine worker deserves decent Christmas! The last quarter comes with a lot of responsibilities like new schools fees structures in January, form one and grade ones needs etc. All these expenses are paid from earnings for November and December. So, it is unfair that we abandon revisiting the minimum for this important period,” he said.