THE Chamber of Mines has refused to increase the minimum wage for mineworkers this year amid viability concerns stemming from a looming tariff hike on electricity and low commodity prices on the international market, businessdigest has learnt.
This came out of the third wage negotiations meeting held on Tuesday between the employer body and the Associated Mineworkers’ Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ). The minimum wage is currently US$248.
AMWUZ president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest on Tuesday that they were disappointed by the chamber’s position after making what he described as “considerable concessions.”
“The Chamber is saying it will not increase the minimum wage this year,” Ruzive said. “We have moved our position where we have tumbled from asking for a 10% increase in the minimum wage to asking for 6%, but the chamber will not play ball. We do not think that such a position will be palatable to our consistuency. ”
Ruzive said large-scale miners’ viability challenges, which include the imminent increase in electricity tariffs and the lack of funding, was the reason mines could not afford to increase the minimum wage. He added that they will meet the chamber for further talks next week.
The chamber had proposed a reduction in the minimum wage, 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 when the two parties met for the first time to negotiate the issue.
Mining sector output recorded a negative growth of around -3,4% and -2,5% in 2014 and 2015 respectively as most minerals recorded declines in output, led by chrome which reported the largest decline of 48% in output followed by coal and diamonds at -31% and -30% respectively. A 30% increase in production was only recorded on gold followed by a modest 1% growth in platinum while copper production remained flat in the period under review.