Workers at ZMDC gold producing unit go for three years without pay

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By Kwekwe Correspondent

WORKERS at one of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) gold producing units, Jena Mines in Silobela have said they have gone for nearly three years without consistent salaries.

ZMDC owns Jena Mine, Elvington Mine as well as Sabi Mines.

Of the three, Jena is the only company which is fully operational, albeit at a loss, while other two Sabi and Elvington are under judicial management and care and maintenance, respectively.

Workers who spoke to on condition of anonymity said while the company has remained operational for nearly three years, it has been struggling to consistently service its financial obligations.

“I don’t know why the company is failing to pay us full salaries whilst we smelt over 7 kg per week. It has told us this was because it is saddled with other obligations,” said one of the workers.

The worst hit are said to be workers with lower grades.

At its peak, Jena Mine used to employ more than 630 people.

The number of employees has since dropped and is now estimated to be around 525.

“It is now almost three years since the company has been struggling to settle our salaries. There is now a serious backlog. This simply translates to an unbearable situation where we are now failing to pay $20 tuition for our primary school going children,” said another employee.

Jena has the capacity to produce 450 tonnes of ore per day.

Workers are also claiming that money deducted for the Mining Industry Pension Fund (MIPF) might not be remitted.

“We have fears that money which is deducted for MIPF is not being remitted, which becomes a problem when one leaves Jena Mine through pension or resignations,” workers contend.

Questions sent to ZMDC were not responded to by the time of publication.

ZMDC was established by an Act of Parliament No.31 of 1982.

Last year, ZMDC is believed to have secured $6 million funding for recapitalization of Jena Mine.

The mine, among other issues, has been battling antiquated equipment and unreliable power supply due to non-payment of arrears.

The mine also has had some of its properties attached following its failure to pay creditors.