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Zimbabwe govt urged to enforce rights of mineworkers on Chinese

by Maxwell Teedzai
29 Nov 2021 at 19:01hrs | Views
HARARE: NMWUZ - National Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe President Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka has urged Government to put stringent measures to enforce all Chinese mining firms to revise the manner in which they are treating employees.

He said this against the background of the recently held National Fact-Finding Mission which they hosted in order to assess the extent to which mining companies and in particular, Chinese firms are violating Health, Safety and Environmental standards in the workplace.

NMWUZ, ZCTU - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union and ILO intertwinned in this mission. Naturally, ZCTU has a representative within their ranks who reported the findings of this mission directly to the ILO - International Labor Organization.

"We're not pleased with the manner in which Chinese firms within our country are responding to the important issue of workers' rights," said Mr. Nomboka, the current President of NMWUZ.

More evidence from the Fact-Findings reveals that almost ninety percent of these Chinese mining firms are underpaying workers while working conditions are strikingly harshest in Matebeleland North Province.

"Through a briefing from our NMWUZ Matebeleland North team, we were shocked to learn of one of these Chinese mining firms using a air-tight cargo container to ferry mine workers to and from work".

The NMWUZ President continued, "In Hwange my team noted gross abuse of mine workers' rights and that to date not even one Chinese mining firm has a complete organogram - no Human Resources and, or Health, Safety and Environmental departments which are critical to ensuring rights of employees. Sadly no Chinese mining company in Zimbabwe has been properly instituted and a paltry and inconsistent Rtgs$ wage and zero annual bonuses for mine workers in Zimbabwe by both local and foreign investors in the extractives sector are a clear sign of the disrespect of Workers' Unions, and the rights of workers to decent working conditions. And it's quite disheartening when you come to think of it that those employees in the mining sector have nothing to pocket home this 2021 festive season 2021".

"In general, working conditions for mine workers in Zimbabwe by Chinese firms are a thorn-in-the-flesh for us and we urge these foreign companies to revise the matter with immediate effect".

Apparently, none of these Chinese mining companies are rewarding employees' wages in respect of the market productivity salary scale.

The ILO is a key player in global governance and an important corrective to often one-sided development thinking. Their set of international labour standards and the Decent work Agenda are a reference framework for everyone who advocates a fair working world.

The International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919 as part of the Treaty of Versailles. It is approaching its centenary. In 1946, it became the first specialised agency of the United Nations. The ILO embodies a vision of universal, humane conditions of labour to attain social justice and peace among nations. The contemporary expression of this vision is the Decent work Agenda.

As a member of ILO, Zimbabwe has ratified all ILO treaties and conventions and what is simply lacking is enforcement of the existing legal frameworks so that all employees and especially those contracted in harsher workplaces begin to benefit directly from such partnerships created by ZCTU and its affiliates.

Subsequently, Nomboka has asked all mining employers to pay their employees annual bonuses so they have a good Christmas this festive season mainly because workers are earning way below the PDL - poverty datum line and are being heavily taxed by Government. On the same wavelength he has also commended those employers who are complying to keep up with the good work.

If the demands made by NMWUZ are not met, it means that all mine workers will not have additional income during the festive season. This will in turn cause affected employees to become emotionally stressed an eventuality hat might compromise their health and safety at the workplace.

Mining is a highly risky and very dangerous preoccupation and must be done when the mind is at peace.

Meanwhile, NMWUZ President has hinted they will leave no stone unturned until all workers, as is the norm in the developed world, are well remunerated in line with existing international best practices where employees are paid wages that correspond with the market productivity salary scale.

NMWUZ is calling on all mining companies to adopt the market productivity scale approach in paying employees thier wages.

Source - Maxwell Teedzai