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Mine workers understate 46% wage increment

by Maxwell Teedzai
07 Mar 2022 at 06:25hrs | Views
HARARE - NMWUZ - National Mines Workers Union Of Zimbabwe has vehemently rejected the 46 percent wage increment recently awarded the already financially struggling mineworkers by  COMZ - Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and AMWUZ - Associated Mine Workers' Union of Zimbabwe.

In a heated interview, the President of NMWUZ Mr Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka argued, "We reject this mockery of wage adjustment by COMZ and AMWUZ and when we know that; (1) our minerals are sold in foreign currency; (2) there are high risks associated with working in the mines, i.e. the contracting of diseases due to inhalation of dust and dangerous gasses and; (3) and the lower life expectancy caused by work related deaths either through sickness or unforeseen accidents".
Consequently and in contradistinction to these observations raised by the NMWUZ President, the current salary rate for mine workers in Zimbabwe falls far short of addressing the worker's needs in so far as remuneration and allowances are  concerned.

With special reference to the recent outcome on first quarter wages covering the period January 1 to 31st March - the awarded 46 percent insignificantly addressed the USD portion which only rose by USD6.00 or the minimum.

"Against this background, we want the entire wage package to be above the PDL - Poverty Datum Line which is above USD623.00 according to the CCZ - Consumer Council of Zimbabwe latest statistical analysis report" retorted Mr Nomboka.

Meanwhile, employees in the mining sector are not happy and they are asking questions as to why AMWUZ is the only Union currently sitting on the negotiating table with COMZ and why their employers are not interested in inviting other unions on board.

NMWUZ President is concerned and arguing the serious and urgent need to also review mine workers' allowances which have not been reviewed for a very long time.

"Allowances being awarded mine workers are no longer realistic and one wonders what negotiators are thinking of as they continue to leave allowances unadjusted despite their knowledge of the volatility of the country's economic environment which can no longer hold any water," said Mr Nomboka.

The country's collective bargaining Agreement (SI 165 of 1992) is now outdated in spite of recent and progressive developments that have taken place in labour laws especially the amendments to the Labour Act in Zimbabwe.

In that same wavelength, the Union has called for a complete overhaul of the statute in order to allign it with the current trends and best practices in international labor laws and the need for job evaluation considering the technological changes taking place in the mining sector.

"Sadly, most of our people are being undergraded when instead they should be seated on their correct positions and this is happening because the status quo in the mining sector favors employers at the expense of employees (for example we no longer use jack hammer but the jack hammer position is the current position being used to grade an employee who is now using a more mechanised equipment when employers pay employees in most mines".

Miners are demading a more lucrative social security scheme which should be in position to handsomely award them in the event of death or termination of employment contract while affordable home ownership schemes should be introduced to the miner's and with better rewards, such as duty free and the like.

Affordability of home ownership loan schemes are quintessential so that the lowest paid miner can now own a house.

"Mr Mthuli Ncube has admitted that the mining sector is one of the major revenue generators in Zimbabwe's economy but sadly and in juxstaposition the wages for mine workers remain unattended and with their employers enjoying duty-free importations for their vehicles and equipment, but zero benefit-sharing for the mine workers".

Source - Maxwell Teedzai