By Clayton Masekesa
The controversial Chinese diamond mining company, Anjin Investments, has reportedly replaced the workers it recently fired with card-carrying Zanu (PF) youths.
Anjin dismissed about 1500 employees who engaged in industrial action. The dismissed workers have also said that the army, which has a controlling stake in the diamond mining company, victimized them for being MDC-T supporters.
The workers went on strike because their salaries were lower than local diamond industry standards of $650 a month. The lowest paid worker was getting $235.
Over the last two years, Anjin workers have gone on strike eight times. Sources from Anjin Investments last week told The Zimbabwean that the company began a recruiting process to replace those suspended with Zanu (PF) youths.
The sources said youths from Buhera, Makoni and Mutare districts were being considered. “Joseph Chinotimba facilitated the employment of youths from Buhera,” said a source.
Chinotimba, who hails from Buhera, gained notoriety for spearheading the violent fast track land redistribution campaign of 2000. The source added that the workers were being accused of causing the defeat of Provincial Governor Chris Mushohwe, a senior Zanu (PF) member, in the 2008 general elections.
“We just want to be treated fairly because, after all, the diamonds are ours as Zimbabweans,” said a worker who cannot be named for fear of victimisation.
It is alleged that the Anjin managers live at The Golden Peacock Villa Hotel in Mutare, while the Zimbabwean workers live in wooden shacks near the plant.
When contacted for a comment, an Anjin Board member, Munyaradzi Machacha, who doubles as the company’s spokesperson, said:
“It is clear that the workers were fired because they went on an illegal strike. We followed all the procedures of firing them. We have begun recruiting new employees whom we feel will follow the rules and regulations that are set by our company.”
On the alleged intimidation of workers, Machacha said:
“If the workers feel that they are being mistreated and intimidated, they should look for somewhere else where they are not intimidated. The door is open.”
He defended Anjin’s recruitment policy, saying: “Our recruitment process is above board. We do not recruit personnel on political grounds or affiliation. We recruit those who we feel will be able to deliver to our expectations.”
The workers committee has said it will petition Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to intervene. The Zimbabwean