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Diamond miners demand salary increment

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers’ Union (Zdamwu) has written to the National Employment Council for the mining industry, requesting an urgent meeting to consider salary adjustments to cushion the workers.

In a letter dated June 20, Zdamwu general-secretary Justice Chinhema said they were concerned about the current state of the economy and hardships being faced by workers in the industry, despite the industry being the backbone of the country in terms of foreign currency generation.

“The current economic situation has seen inflation skyrocketing and prices of basic goods and services rising beyond the reach of many workers, eroding the already below a living wage (salaries) being earned, leaving them on the verge of destitution. Therefore, the need for an urgent wage increase,” he said.

“The situation on the ground is volatile; your intervention in this matter is urgently sought. The negotiated 80% increase, and backdated to January 2019, has been eroded and never addressed the situation … instead it created confusion in the industry.”

“As you might be aware, some mines had negotiated payment of salaries at works council in US dollars before the 80% increase. The increase did not stipulate or specify the currency to be used, thereby creating confusion,” Chinhema said.

Chinhema said most employers in the industry reverted to the RTGS dollar payments which was again not paid at the interbank rate.

“Zdamwu’s position is that our industry generates foreign currency and all employers in the industry retain from 50-80% US dollars after selling the minerals. We are also aware, as you are, that the balance is being paid using interbank exchange rates,” he said.

“Workers must also be paid in line with the above arrangement. Any negotiation that does not recognise this is nothing and pushing workers into poverty. We are of the firm position that our industry is able to pay salaries commensurate to the minerals mined,” he said.

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