Chamber of mines negotiate on wages

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WAGE negotiations between the Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe will today resume amid indications both parties are determined to reach an agreement to finally break the deadlock.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The 2014 wage negotiations have dragged on since last year with the two sides failing to agree. In October last year the union demanded a minimum wage increase from the current US$227 to between US$400- US$500.

This was dismissed by the Chamber as unfeasible.

Difficulties in the mining sector, compounded by the poor performance of gold and other minerals such as chrome made it impossible to pay the minimum demanded by the union, the Chamber said.

Negotiations ground to a halt when the Chamber refused to increase the wages to the Poverty Datum Line level of about US$573 arguing that the provision of free accommodation, education, transport and electricity among other perks meant that the workers were already getting the PDL linked minimum wage level.

A source told Business digest both parties have since met to find common ground to resolve a number of sticking points. The chamber, the source revealed, shelved the stance they had taken not to move from the current minimum wage. This decision, according to sources was, taken partly because of the union’s argument that not all mineworkers benefitted from perks such as free accommodation.

The negotiations in which both sides have remained tight- lipped, has helped both sides to be more flexible as they try to put finality to the talks according to the source.

Today’s meeting is expected to further narrow contested issues and come up with an agreeable minimum wage to both parties, factoring in the employer’s ability to pay.

“ We will meet to work on the nuts and bolts and we hope to come up with a reasonable figure as the minimum wage,” the source said

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