OVER 650 workers at Mwana Africa’s Freda Rebecca Mine yesterday downed tools to protest management’s refusal to awards them salary adjustment
s in line with an undertaking made between management and the workers’ committee in October.
The strike disrupted operations and sources indicated that daily production losses were likely to affect profitability. There were fears the strike could spread to Mwana Africa’s other subsidiary, Bindura Nickel Corporation, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) and the entire mining sector, stoking huge losses through loss of production hours.
A source indicated that the Mine Workers Union (MWU) which had struck the initial deal with Freda Rebecca’s management in October, was closely watching the developments at the mine.
MWU had by yesterday dispatched a team of negotiators to meet Freda Rebecca’s management, but no deal had yet been struck at the time of going to press.
Sources indicated that the situation in the mining sector was tense, with gold mining firms unwilling to award employees increments because of huge losses they were experiencing due to the exchange rate.
Information obtained by businessdigest indicates that the mining industry had agreed with the MWU to give sector employees a 48% salary adjustment in October that would have seen the lowest paid worker earning $40 000 per month, from a monthly salary of around $27 000.
They had also agreed to increase the salaries to $43 000 in November and $50 000 in December, a decision that sources said Freda Rebecca management contested claiming that the mine did not have the capacity to pay. Freda Rebecca is a gold mine.
“They had applied for exemption from the government but they were only exempted from increasing the salaries for October but they have said they would not increase salaries for the three months,” said one of the workers yesterday.