THE Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe have agreed on a 1,5% wage increase for the sector in 2016, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
The two parties reached a settlement in their fourth wage negotiation meeting held on February 18 with the chamber backing down on its earlier stance not to increase the minimum wage to US$249,24.
“The Chamber and the workers in the mining sector reached an agreement on this years’ minimum wage of 1,5%,” an informed source told businessdigest on Tuesday. “The workers union believes that although it is a token increase, it will be the best they can get under the circumstances. Employers believe that despite facing problems, not giving any wage increment would have dampened the morale of workers.”
The agreement comes at a time the sector is facing numerous bottlenecks which include low mineral prices for most metals on the international market and power shortages.
An employer in the mining sector said most mine houses will not be able to afford to effect the increase due to viability problems.
“A 1,5 % increase may not seem to be much but if you multiply that by 500 workers it makes a huge difference to the company’s bottom line.”
The chamber had initially 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.
After further meetings, the chamber said it would not increase the minimum wage while the mineworkers had reduced its demands to a 6% increment in wages.
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.