Mining wage negotiations in deadlock

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NEGOTIATIONS between the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe and the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) for the 2016 minimum wage began on Tuesday with both parties failing to agree on the way forward, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza

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

After the meeting Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest this week negotiations had gotten off to “a terrible start”.

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“The negotiations with the chamber are not being done in good faith and this could plunge the mining industry into mayhem,” Ruzive warned.

The mineworkers’ boss however said he hopes that as they continue to negotiate, the chamber “will play ball”, adding that their current stance “is difficult to stomach”.

Although he refused to divulge details of the meeting, informed sources said the chamber proposed a reduction in the minimum wage, which currently stands at US$248 with the union demanding the minimum wage be pegged at the poverty datum line (PDL) which would represent a 95% increase in the minimum wage.

Mines want a reduction in the minimum wage because of the challenges the sector is facing with a number of them operating on a care and maintenance and some scaling down operations significantly. Other reasons cited by the employer body are the fall of mineral prices and the impending increase in electricity tariffs to nearly 50%.

The mineworkers union argues that the current minimum wage is far from adequate and thus needs to be pegged at the Poverty Data Line (PDL) to sustain them.

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