Fellow Cdes, Workers of Africa, and mine workers of Zimbabwe, today we gather to commemorate international Workers Day a day that is celebrated by workers of the world. Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) recognize Workers day as one of the most important days in the life of workers. Workers day or May Day should be a day where employers need to appreciate and honour their workers for the great work that they are doing to them.

Apart from appreciating the work employees are doing, employers should on May Day, remember the families of workers who died or were injured at the work place. However, this day in our present situation, there is nothing worthy of celebrating. This day comes at a time when Zimbabwe and part of Southern Africa is battling with the effects of climate change that is threatening lives and livelihoods. 

We are facing serious drought caused by El Nino in Zimbabwe and the general well-being, mine workers have not been spared.

Compatriots, 2024 workers day has come at a moment when mine workers are fighting tooth and nail to reclaim their rights, for a living wage and protection against excessive exploitation.

We are at a critical stage of history where we are not retreating in confronting the mistreatment of workers and believe May day should not only be an occasion for gatherings, but it should be a day to salute the mine workers for their continued sustenance of the economy and expression of a deep appreciation to them and those who died or have been injured at the work place in mines across the country.

Comrades, Mine workers are an important stake holder in the extraction of mineral resources worldwide, they are the vital cog that drives any economy and Zimbabwe has been one good example.  This therefore means mine workers welfare should always be a priority. The Government and employers in the sector need to lend an ear to the concerns of the mine workers as much as possible to see that they are addressed not the current situation where workers have been turned into slaves by employers, Mine workers have nothing to celebrate on this May Day as they are subjected to poor working conditions and ‘slave wages’ which have thrown them into abject poverty despite being a vital cog in our economy.

Some big mines are even failing to pay salaries when they are due even when production is stable.

The welfare of mineworkers in the country has remained pitiful. It is sad that this year’s Workers Day comes against the background of poor safety & health in our workplaces. We have cases of workers working for long hours in unsafe environments, earn as you work system introduced by some employers, casualization of labour across all mines- workers signing short term fixed contracts when work of permanent is available, rampant labour broking being introduced by corrupt, greedy managers taking over labour at companies they manage so as to pay slave wages while they earn huge. This is a form of CHIBHARO which has been modernized. Poor provision of accommodation in some areas companies are building dormitories for workers.  Mine workers have nothing to show for themselves as their houses including rural homes because of the colonial set up of compounding.

We have reached a point to say enough is enough and it is now time to take our space by Organising to Confront Excessive Exploitation to Protect Mine Workers Rights for Transformation and Development’ It is time to confront those that are inflicting hardships on us and demand a living wage commensurate to value of minerals we mine.

While we await for our time to be part of the NEC Collective Bargaining where we shall immediately push for the amendment of all the various statutes currently being used by the NEC because they are all outdated, it is a travesty of labour justice that we are still using a CBA OF 1990. Our call is and it remains a reform of the National Employment Council (NEC) so that it not only serves the mine workers but also serves its purpose.

As ZDAMWU we would like to reiterate that mine workers welfare is the reason of our existence. As a union we shall be pushing for the implementation of ILO C176 in Zimbabwe and other existing safety and health laws. We need to continue pushing for the criminalization of deliberate cause of accidents particularly where it is proved that the employer has failed to comply with the safety rules and regulations.

We are in cognisant of the challenges being faced by female mine workers in the country. And as a union we would like to reaffirm our commitment to protect the rights of female mine workers. The union is committed to the emancipation of women both at the world of work and outside .We have recognised the challenges women face in general and have put measures and programs in place to address such anomalies and emancipation of women workers in particular. We have now put in place a Gender & Sexual Harassment policy that seeks to address gender based violence and sexual harassment in mines and mining communities. Campaigns will be rolled at mine level, communities as well as pushing through works council for work place policy on Sexual Harassment, Gender Based Violence in the world of work.

As we push this policy to be adopted across all mines, we will continue to extensively campaign for the ratification of ILO C190 by the government of Zimbabwe through parliament. Engagement of female parliamentarians has begun, In conclusion, as workers it is important to note that mine workers desire to see investment in our mining sector who  come to mine ,value add our minerals, develop communities where they are mining not the current set up where there nothing to show from the workers ,communities and our nation at large. We need investors who would push for value addition and beneficiation of minerals at mine level. A situation which will definitely benefit not only the country but mine workers if it is to be fully implemented.

The year 2024 onward marks the breaking point of the union towards total control and influence in the industry and our strategic focus is designed to achieve more and one of our immediate tasks is to put in place measures on how the organization will perform in the coming years as the voice of mine workers across all mines in Zimbabwe

We shall be organising every mine across the country to to protect the rights and interests of mine workers in Zimbabwe.

Failure is not an option.

I thank you.


ZDAMWU General Secretary

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