The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has threatened to mobilise workers from other sectors to demonstrate against the Ministry of Labour’s “silence” on the salary impasse at the Hwange Colliery Company.
Partly government-owned, the coal miner owes employees almost four years’ salaries and the workers’ spouses have been demonstrating at the company premises for the past week, demanding that management honour agreed scheme of arrangement to resolve the matter.
Company management however, refused to address the women and, instead, took the case to court seeking an order compelling police to disperse the demonstrators.
The company, in its application, noted that the ZRP has been refusing to assist management since the demonstration started on January 29.
ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo, said the silence by the Ministry of Labour was disturbing considering the dire situation that the families of the workers were facing.
“If the matter is not resolved, the ZCTU retains the right to mobilize other sectors within Hwange for solidarity action with the women,” he said, adding management was being arrogant by refusing to meet the striking spouses and approaching the courts to seek permission to disperse the strikers despite being at fault.
Moyo said the average $200 per individual recently deposited into workers accounts was not only unilateral, but also an insult to the workers.
He said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s emissary, Home Affairs Minister Obert Mpofu, had failed to solve dispute, adding that the president should have sent the Minister of Labour instead of one responsible for the police
The ZCTU leader was also refused audience by the company management.
“The Workers have not been paid for the past four years and, as a result, their families are suffering,” said Moyo.
“They (workers) cannot access medical care, education and any other services that require money.
“The majority of workers have defaulted on contractual payments for residential stands, insurances and other obligations due to none payment of their salaries.”
Moyo said the women had every reason to demonstrate on behalf of their spouses given the high level of victimisation of workers who dared ask for their salaries or anything related to their conditions of service.