ZCTU petitions Mavima over workers abuses at Manhidze Steel Company

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By AloisVinga

ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has petitioned Labour Minister, Paul Mavima to urgently intervene following a series of labour violations at the Chinese run Manhidze Steel Works project.

The  US$1,5 billion worth project being implemented by a Chinese firm, Dinson Iron and Steel Company (DISCO) will be Africa’s largest integrated steel plant, and is anticipated to start production in August this year producing over 1,2 million tons of steel.

While the massive investment is expected to unlock thousands of jobs for struggling locals alarm has been raised over ensuing labour rights abuses at the plant.

In a letter addressed to Mavima seen by, the ZCTU acting secretary general, Kudakwashe Munengiwa said the situation was a cause for concern.

“As you might be aware, the Manhidze Project in Mvuma is being constructed by a Chinese company DISCO and our affiliate union, the Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers Union (ZCATWU), visited the company on various occasions with the intention or organising and recruiting the construction workers.

“Their efforts to organise and recruit members at the company has been frustrated by the company management which has been giving flimsy excuses to deny them access to the site.

“The union even approached the registrar of Labour Ms. Mugomazi and Principal Labour Officer from Gweru Mr. Maburutse, who tried their best to help, but without success,” he said.

He said the company’s management even refused to accept stop order forms signed by workers who wanted to join the union.

The ZCTU is reliably informed that the company is now forcing workers to join a union that the employer is trying to form.

It is also alleged that the employer is coercing workers to form a workers’ committee without the participation ZCATWU in direct violation of the Labour Act.

Munengiwa accused the company’s management to be in serious breach of both the Labour Act and the ILO Conventions 98 and 87 on the right to organise and freedom of association.

“Hon. Minister, we ask for your intervention in these matters and that ZCATWU be allowed to access the site and conduct its business without being frustrated by the company management.

“The action by DISCO will tarnish the image of the country globally as it will be viewed as anti-union. ZCTU will not stand by and watch as an arrogant and overzealous employer plays around with its members,” he said.