President Emmerson Mnangagwa has commanded mining companies in Zimbabwe to pay their workers good salaries following mine workers’ outcry over poor wages and their description of the recent 100% wage hike as “double nonsense”.
Addressing the Annual Conference of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe in Victoria Falls on Friday, Mnangagwa urged the mining companies to lead by example when compensating their workers.
“Meanwhile, I exhort the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and the Environmental Management Agency to ensure that mining houses abide by their commitments in their environmental impact assessments,” the President said.
“Additionally, the mining sector must strive to be a model employer by rewarding employees at favourable levels. As you grow and develop, employees within the mining sector must not be left behind.”
Two weeks ago, mine workers described their recent 100% wage hike as “double nonsense,” despite an agreement between the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) and Chamber of Mines effecting the raise.
The two organisations had come up with a new salary structure that would have seen the lowest earning mine employee get ZWL93 074, up from ZWL44 640 according to the mines’ national employment council.
The highest paid would have earned ZWL215 872 from ZWL103 535.
But workers’ representative and Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union general secretary Justice Chinhema said the increment meant nothing as long as it was pegged in the local currency.
“Another slap in the face of mine workers. Double nonsense. Even if they negotiate for 500% hikes, as long it is in the RTGS (local currency), it is a non-starter, the only solution is in American dollar,” Chinhema said.
Despite this bleak picture Mnangagwa claimed the attainment of US$12 billion in the mining industry by 2023 was in progress.
“It is encouraging that investors continue to embrace our Zimbabwe Is Open for Business mantra, as witnessed by the ongoing investments throughout the mining sector’s value chain.
“These investments will undoubtedly complement efforts towards the attainment of the US$12 billion mining industry by 2023,” he said.