The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has asked President Emmerson Mnangagwa to urgently intervene in the on-going salary impasse between Hwange Colliery Company management and its workers, who have gone for more than four years without salaries.
Workers at the company have been without salaries since 2013 and efforts to engage with management have been met with stiff resistance, with those brave enough to raise the issue being victimized.
As a counter strategy to avoid the victimization, the workers’ spouses on Monday, January 29, took it upon themselves to demonstrate against the company management and have been camped at the company premises since.
However, instead of addressing their issues, management called in heavily armed anti-riot police to disperse them, but they have been unyielding, braving the vagaries of the weather such as the sun, rains and wind while camped at the company premises where they maintained all night vigils.
In a letter dated February 2 and addressed to President Mnangagwa, ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo, said the labour body was now seeking an urgent audience with the Head of State to find ways of addressing the issue.
He said the workers and their families were suffering and were failing to access medical care, education and other services that required money as management reneged on its commitments to pay workers as per agreed payment plan.
“The situation at the company needs your urgent intervention and it is in this vein that we are appealing to your office to immediately and swiftly direct management of the company to honor its obligations and stop victimizing workers,” Moyo said.
He said such action by the company portrayed a very bad picture to the international community at a time the new administration was making frantic efforts to reengage with the rest of the world after years of isolation.
The ZCTU boss said what was worrying was that workers from subcontracted companies within Hwange Colliery were being paid their salaries, adding they suspected that the subcontracted companies belonged to the mine bosses.
The majority of workers he said, had defaulted on contractual payments for residential stands, insurances and other obligations due to none payment of their salaries.
This is not the first time the spouses of Hwange Colliery employees have demonstrated against the company. In 2013, about 100 women walked 20km to the General Manager’s offices to demand their husbands’ salaries and were brutally assaulted by police at the instigation of the company, now infamous for its bad industrial relations.Advertisement
Hwange Colliery Spokesperson, Rugare Dobbie was not picking calls when contacted for comment.