Mineworkers demand wages in hard currency

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MINEWORKERS are demanding that they be paid poverty datum line-based salaries denominated in foreign currency as the minimum wage in 2019, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza

The demand comes at a time the mining sector is going through a turbulent period as a result of the deepening economic crisis. Lack of foreign currency has adversely affected the sector, particularly gold miners, with RioZim closing three of its mines as a result.
Associated Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest on Tuesday that they had met employer body Chamber of Mines last week and tabled their demand to be paid in foreign currency, in line with the cost of living.
“We had preliminary discussions with the Chamber last week. It is not business as usual. It is business unusual,” he said. “We told them we want to be paid the poverty datum line in foreign currency. The prices of goods continue to skyrocket which has severely affected the salaries of mineworkers. They can pay us in forex since they sell the minerals in foreign currency.”
Ruzive said the chamber pointed out that the sector was battling to access foreign currency which makes it difficult to pay workers in forex, adding that the current volatility in the economy makes it difficult to come up with a position on wages to be paid next year.
“They have said we should meet again on the issue between 22 and 24 November at which time they hope the situation will have normalised,” Ruzive said.
The demand for the payment of salaries in foreign currency has gained traction since last month’s monetary policy statement by central bank chief John Mangudya which pronounced the separation of foreign currency and Real-Time Gross Settlement accounts. This triggered economic chaos characterised by the shooting up of prices and volatility on the alternative market going as high as 600% at one time.

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