WAGE negotiations for the second quarter of the year between the Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mine Workersâ€™ Union of Zimbabwe have broken down and the two parties are now heading for arbitration.
The workers union president Tinago Ruzive told Businessdigest that negotiations had hit a brickwall after the Chamber proposed a minimum wage which was less than that of the first quarter.
â€œMineworkers are wallowing in poverty and were earning only US$100 per month for the first quarter and we had put forward a minimum wage of US$454 for the second quarter which is stipulated as the Poverty Datum Line, but were ready to negotiate downwards recognising the difficulties the industry is experiencing,â€ Ruzive said.
â€œBut the Chamber proposed to reduce the minimum wage for the second quarter from US$100 to US$80 citing inability to pay, but we cannot accept such a paltry offer,â€ said Ruzive.
Ruzive said when the Chamber proposed to pay a minimum wage that would cater for basic requirements, they had calculated a figure of US$174. He said the Chamber had said they could not pay that figure resulting in the deadlock.
â€œWe have registered our first, second and third deadlock and are now heading for the process of conciliation at the Ministry of Labour. If we fail to agree, then we will go for arbitration,â€ he said.
Ruzive said failure to reach an agreement on wages could have a devastating impact on the sector which is the countryâ€™s largest foreign currency earner and could descend into chaos as their membership is becoming increasingly frustrated.
â€œI hope this issue is resolved quickly because the workers are becoming impatient. I will not be able to keep the lid on the boiling pot much longer,â€ he warned.
BY KUDZAI KUWAZA