ASSOCIATED Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) has rejected a proposal by the Chamber of Mines to freeze wages for the mining sector next year, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
The two parties met on Thursday last week to discuss the minimum wage for 2018, having met earlier in the month where they came up with the framework for negotiations.
The talks come at a time the mining sector is undergoing a number of challenges.
According to the 2017 State of the Mining Industry Survey report, the major challenges bedeviling the mining sector include foreign currency shortages, liquidity crunch, high cost of capital, high procurement costs as well as the erratic supply, shortage and high cost of power and low commodity prices.
Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest this week that the negotiations, which lasted about two hours, were “tough”.
“The chamber wanted to impose a wage freeze for next year, which we strongly rejected,” Ruzive said. “We could not accept such a position at a time when prices of basic commodities are going up and our members are struggling to make ends meet.”
He said after prolonged talks, the Chamber shifted their position and promised to “come up with something” as an increase to the wages.
“They said they will go back to consult and come up with the figure which they are prepared to pay,” Ruzive said.
The two parties, he said, are scheduled to meet on January 14 next year for further discussions over the issue.
According to the report, all respondents of the survey were of the view they cannot afford wage increments for 2018 due to viability challenges.
The survey revealed that labour (31%), supplies (39%), power (13%) and statutory payments (14%) accounted for an average 97% of total costs in 2017.
The survey established that capacity utilisation of the mining sector has this year increased to 71% up from 64% last year. The sectors’ capacity utilisation is expected to increase to 79% in 2018.
The mining sector, the survey revealed, requires nearly US$400 million next year to continue sustaining operations to above break-even point.