Helen Kadirire 8 May 2017
HARARE – Chinese nationals with businesses in the country are in the habit
of ill-treating and abusing their employees, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) president Peter Mutasa said last week.
Speaking at the commemorations for World Day for Safety and Health, Mutasa
said complaints against the Chinese in Zimbabwe were increasing every day.
Our sister paper the Weekend Post in the past also carried stories of how
some Chinese firms are now paying their workers in form of bricks as they
refuse to part with United States dollars.
“Every day, workers are being abused by the Chinese and that should be a
cause for concern for the country. We do not know where they are getting
their power to do these things and we want that to be stopped immediately.
Some of these Chinese employers go to the extent of beating their
employees if they get upset or frustrated.”
“We must not allow this abuse to go further anymore. This is our country
and they should dance to the tune of our music. We must socialise them
into the ways of our country and not the other way round. We cannot let
guests to our country dictate to us how we should conduct our business,”
He said that the Chinese do whatever they want with no repercussions, but
the same cannot be said for locals.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Josephat Kahwema
said the reports received of abuse by the Chinese were disturbing to the
He said as employers their main concern is to ensure the well-being of
their employees for the smooth running of any organisation and the
country’s economy at large.
“As employers we believe that any organisation is made by the employees
and their lives are critical. Their welfare is very important,” Kahwema
In 2014, a Chinese-owned Gweru chrome mine was dragged before the labour
court for allegedly not paying its workers their full salaries and
intimidating its employees.
Last year, the Zimbabwe Diamond Miners Workers’ Union dragged the
Chinese-owned Detroop Mine near Chinhoyi to the National Employment
Council over alleged abuse of employees.
The complaints raised by the workers included unfair labour practices,
non-payment of overtime, no grading system, assault of employees,
underpayment of wages and a lack of safety clothing.
Last year, President Robert Mugabe took the unprecedented step of
attacking his all-weather friends the Chinese who he accused of “using”
local women and then dumping them when they fell pregnant.
“We see only the men. Men only. Ah! Where do they find women? They leave
their wives in China and come here on long-term contracts, for two or
three years. These are not students but grown men with wives back home.
Can such men survive five years without a woman, just watching the local
girls from a distance,” said Mugabe.