Mine workers get 80% wage rise

THE Associated Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) and the Chamber of Mines have agreed an 80% increment as the minimum wage for 2019, businessdigest has learnt.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

The negotiations come at a time of a deepening economic crisis characterised by a severe foreign currency deficit and a crippling liquidity crunch which has hampered the operations of most companies burdened by lack of investment and antiquated equipment.

The two parties agreed on the increment when they met on Friday last week. This takes the minimum wage from $262 to $468.

This was after a three-hour meeting held on Tuesday last week in which the two parties narrowed their differences with no agreement reached

The mine workers’ body had reduced its demand of an increment from the initial 150% which would have put the minimum wage at $655 to 92% which would put the minimum wage at $500, according to sources who attended the meeting.

The Chamber of Mines, which had initially refused to entertain a wage increment for 2019, tabled an 80 % pay rise to lift the minimum wage to $468.

“The two parties have narrowed their differences and we will meet again on Friday (today), where we are confident that we will agree on the wage increment,” one of the negotiators said after Tuesday’s meeting.

Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive confirmed the increment.

“We reached an agreement for an 80% increment.” Ruzive said.

“We have agreed after a lot of haggling.”

The two parties agreed a 2,9% increment for the minimum wage for 2018, which brought the minimum wage to $262.

Mine workers had demanded a higher minimum wage for the gold, diamond and platinum sectors, arguing that the minerals fetch higher prices than other resources on the market. This was rejected by the Chamber.

The union had also demanded that the workers be paid in foreign currency, but the employers said it was not possible unless mining companies are allowed to retain at least 80% of their foreign currency receipts by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
According to the State of the Mining Industry 2018 report, wages constituted 23% of total costs, down from 31% in 2017.