Mine workers push for further increment

BARELY two months after being awarded an 80% wage increase, mine workers have approached the Chamber of Mines demanding another increase, citing the rising cost of living, businessdigest has established.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

In March this year, the Associated Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) and the Chamber of Mines agreed on an 80% increment as the minimum wage for 2019, after months of protracted negotiations.

This increased the minimum wage for the sector from $262 to $468.

The two parties had agreed that they would meet again in June to take stock of the situation.

However, a wave of fresh price increases has prompted mineworkers to demand an increment before the meeting in June.

Prices of commodities such as bread and cooking oil have shot up.

Mobile network operators have also hiked their tariffs. Year-on-year inflation for March stood at 66,8%, the highest since the introduction of the multi-currency regime in 2009.

Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive told businessdigest that the mine workers have approached Chamber of Mines vice-president Elizabeth Nerwande address the salary issue.

“I presented our concerns over the phone to Mrs Nerwande regarding the increase in prices of commodities to conscientise the Chamber of the development,” Ruzive said.

“We are definitely going to ask them for another increment, looking at the increase in the cost of living. Prices have gone up and the 80% increment has been whittled away by inflation. We need to agree on an increment to cushion the workers.”

However, Ruzive would not reveal the percentage increment they will ask for.

The Chamber of Mines has baulked at implementing yet another increment barely two months after awarding an 80% wage rise.

“There is absolutely no way that we can afford an adjustment at the current moment,” a member of the Chamber of Mines wage negotiating team told businessdigest.

According to official statistics, prices of basic commodities have shot up by nearly 200% in the period between October last year and April this year.