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Mine workers issue strike warning

THE Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) has issued a 14-day notice to go on strike as the standoff between mineworkers and employers’ body, the Chamber of Mines, over wages, intensifies.

The planned strike would take place at a time when the mining sector is recovering from a 10-year economic decline.
Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest on Wednesday that they issued the notice on April 22 and will down tools on May 12 because the chamber ignored their demands.
“We are about to embark on a collective job action,” Ruzive said. “We won an arbitrary award for the third quarter of last year where we were awarded a minimum of US$140 which the chamber did not accept. It advised the mines to pay US$120 which was a violation of the ruling made in our favour.”
He said the chamber had also disregarded the ruling by the arbitrator for them to hold negotiations for the last quarter of 2009 where they were demanding a monthly minimum wage of US$290.
Ruzive accused the chamber of also not fulfilling their obligation to hold negotiations for first quarter of this year salaries.
The mineworker’s body, Ruzive revealed, are demanding a minimum of US$490 for the first quarter. 
He said there were some mining companies that had gone for a year without paying their workers, which left the employees dejected and morale at rock bottom.
“Workers are aggrieved… Some have gone a full year without salaries with some not being paid their full monthly salaries,” Ruzive said. “Our members are struggling to afford three square meals a day. This is slavery and we cannot accept that. We will paralyse the industry.”
Ruzive also accused mining companies of not remitting workers contributions to the Mining Pension Fund.
Chamber of Mines senior executive Doug Verden acknowledged receipt of the 14-day notice by the mineworkers.
“They (mineworkers) have issued a 14-day notice of their intention to go on strike and we are considering our options. That is all I can say at the moment,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Traded Unions deputy secretary-general Japhet Moyo said the union throws its weight behind the mineworkers’ decision to go on strike.
“That is the correct position taken by the mineworkers,” Moyo said. “Sometimes you have to show your muscle if the employer is not negotiating in good faith. We urge them to unite and fight the capitalists.”
Wage disputes are on the increase in various National Employment Councils and will come under the spotlight as the nation commemorates Workers Day tomorrow.


Kudzai Kuwaza

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