Date set for mining wage talks

NEGOTIATIONS for the 2016 minimum wage between the Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) will begin on January 19 with the two parties poles apart, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza
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The negotiations come at a time the mining sector is facing numerous bottlenecks which include low mineral prices for most metals on the international market and power shortages.

Last month, Imviga Gold Mine Group reportedly ceased operations in Matabeleland North and sent its entire 500-strong workforce on unpaid leave owing to operational challenges. Chrome miner and smelter Zimasco last month closed its Kwekwe refinery as viability challenges take its toll.

Sources told businessdigest that the parties had exchanged position papers which show the two parties are miles apart.

“The chamber and the workers’ union exchanged position papers which show that their expectations from the talks are very different,” an informed source said. “The chamber’s position is that they are not prepared to increase the minimum wage and the mineworkers’ position is that they expect the poverty datum line to be the minimum wage.”

The chamber is reluctant to increase wages in 2016 because it feels a 3% increase effected last year was high in light of the fact that deflation is around -3%.

Mineworkers feel the minimum wage is way too low even after the 3% increase in the minimum wage.

Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive said recently the negotiations “will not be a walk in the park” and he expected the union to “dicker and haggle” during the negotiations.

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