Labour

Mining workers slam ‘paltry’ US$14 salary rise

MARTIN MAWAYA

The Zimbabwe Diamond Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has rejected as paltry the US$14 salary increment approved by the National Employment Council (NEC) for the mining industry.

The NEC had issued a circular dated June 18, 2024, directing all mining firms’ managers to implement the new rates, which would see mine workers receiving a US$14 increment for the period extending from January 1 to December 31, 2024.

However, ZDAMWU has expressed its disappointment, stating that the workers expected a living wage, considering that the mining sector is a major foreign currency earner and the country is endowed with 60 most sought after minerals in the world.

In a letter to its members, ZDAMWU secretary-general, Justice Chinhema described the latest increment announced by the NEC as “pathetic” and “an insult to the hard-working mine workers in Zimbabwe.”

Chinhema said, “Workers expected to receive news of a living wage in tandem with the current reduced purchasing power of their current minimum salaries.”

He added “As the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union, we vehemently reject the released circular because we believe it is nothing compared to the current prevailing production situation obtaining in the sector and the country at large”.

Chinhema said with the current wage increase, mine workers will not be able to afford basics for their families and send their children to school, especially in a country facing a serious drought.

The union leader expressed disappointment and dejection over the “paltry salary increase,” stating that the mine workers expected to receive better news from the NEC, as they had not had a salary increase since March 2023.

He also questioned the NEC’s decision-making process, stating that the agreement was made without considering the prevailing economic situation in the country.

Furthermore, Chinhema noted that the process of admitting ZDAMWU into the NEC’s collective bargaining platform is still underway, and he wondered why the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe failed to consult them as potential partners.

ZDAMWU recommended that the NEC revisit the newly announced increment and revise it upwards to meet the workers’ expectations of a minimum wage of US$600.

The union argued that the poor salaries will negatively impact production in the sector.

“We also appeal for adequate consultations by our colleagues who are in the NEC whenever such bargaining is to be done so that they have a significant input for the sector’s overall representation,” added Chinhema.

Chinhema encouraged mine workers to engage their employers at works council level to demand a living wage commensurate with the prevailing situation.

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