SEVERAL mining companies have been exempted from paying the 1,5% increase in minimum wage due to viability constraints, businessdigest has learnt.
The Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe have agreed on a 1,5% wage increase for the sector in 2016.
Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe president Tinago Ruzive, who is a member of the National Employment Council (Nec) for the mining sector, said they have exempted mining companies who “had genuine concerns”.
“We have had two sittings as the national employment council for the mining sector on the issue of exemptions,” Ruzive said. “We have exempted those with genuine concerns but not who have backdated salary issues from 2014 and 2015.”
Ruzive said for other mining companies, they had asked them to pay half of the agreed wage increase for 2016.
“They are mines struggling to pay workers and we at the Nec have always been sympathetic to their plight,” Ruzive said.
The exemption comes at a time the sector is facing numerous bottlenecks which include low mineral prices for most metals on the international market.
An employer in the mining sector said most mine houses would 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 employer said.
Mining sector output recorded a negative growth of around -3,4% and -2,5% in 2014 and 2015 respectively as most minerals suffered 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.