HWANGE – Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has finally climbed down from its hardline position to end a nearly 120-day long protest by wives of employees who were owed thousands of United States dollars in back pay.
The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed concern caused the protesting wives to end the strike by committing to providing business training and start-up support to enable them to start income-generating projects.
The spouses have since left the tent where they have been camping for 117 days, and their husbands have received their monthly salary for this month.
In a statement, Women in Law in Southern Africa Zimbabwe (WLSA-Zimbabwe) said it is pleased that the demonstration is over and the women are back in their homes.
“However, the agreement depicts how unequal power dynamics exist between corporates and mining communities.
The Hwange women’s petition demanded a bare minimum of $5 000 of what is owed to them but this agreement does not address these issues. The mine has in essence only yielded to start paying salaries to workers and the 2,6 percent scheme of arrangement,” said WLSA Zimbabwe.
“WLSA-Zimbabwe worked in solidarity with the women during the demonstration, which started on the 29th of January 2018. We are confident that through the legal battles with the mine and legal education on women rights the women are better placed to promote and protect their rights. The women have expressed in the agreement that if the HCCL fail to fulfil its commitment the women will go back to camp at the company premises”.
WLSA Zimbabwe said economic empowerment was critical to empower women from over dependency on their male counterparts.