By Nhau Mangirazi
LABOUR Unions have moved to diffuse the cold war between Detroop mine workers and their Chinese employers following allegations of exploitation and violation of labour and environmental laws at the Mashonaland West project.
The Standard last week reported how senior managers at the mine allegedly abused workers by demanding $50 from each of them every month as payment for job security.
Detroop, situated about 170km north west of Harare under Chief Magonde in Makonde district along Angwa River, is run by China’s Jiangxi Risheng Mining Company.
The Zimbabwe Diamonds Mining Workers’ Union (ZDMWU), which is now representing Detroop miners, said it was already on the ground investigating the allegations following the report of the allegations by The Standard.
“We confirm that most of the allegations made against De troop Mining Company by its employees are indeed true,” ZDMWU secretary-general Justice Chinhema said.
“There is unfair labour practice at the mine as the employees are working overtime without being paid for the overtime worked. To add on to that, there is casualisation of labour, a situation whereby an employee is termed a casual worker but has been working continuously for several months, which is against the Labour Act. Most employees confirmed that they had to bribe senior managers in order to secure their jobs.’’
He said there was also discrimination against women who were allegedly being underpaid on the basis of gender. He also said employees complained that they did not have adequate protective clothing.
“During our visit to Jiangxi Risheng Mine, we also discovered that there were bogus trade unions who were caught up in a web of corruption as they were bribed,” Chinhema said.
“We guarantee the miners that this trade union will not be silenced by anyone regardless of who they are in its quest for justice and for protection of employees’ rights in the mining industry. The matter has already been registered to National Employment Council and unlike those unions who seem to represent the employer, we will make sure that all the mining employers abide by the law.”
He said it was high time employers in the mining industry were warned that the “honeymoon” was over.
“ZDMWU has come to assist mine workers who have suffered for a long time in this industry at the hands of unions that came before us and folded their hands while siding with the employers. This must stop right now. We will fight until miners are also recorded as first class workers in Zimbabwe,’’ said Chinhema in a statement.