via Hwange mine workers down tools – DailyNews Live by Ndakaziva Majaka
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed coal producer Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCC)’s mine workers went on strike Monday over unpaid salaries.
Jemister Chininga, the company’s acting managing director, yesterday confirmed that the employees, who claim they are owed five months’ salaries, had downed tools.
“Yes we are experiencing demonstration problems at the site,”Chininga told businessdaily, before asking if he could be contacted later as he was going into a meeting in which the labour issue was on the agenda.
However, Chininga was unavailable when contacted later while the company’s secretary Thembalami Ncube refused to comment referring all questions to the group’s public relations manager whose mobile phone was unreachable.
Some of the striking employees said they will not report for duty until they get their salaries.
“We’re on strike and will not work till we’re paid the fruits of our labour.
“For the past five months we have been coming to work without being paid. Enough is enough,” said one employee who preferred anonymity.
The employee also claimed that HCC planned to slash the outstanding salaries and dismiss those taking part in the stay-away.
According to reports, HCC recently suspended 520 workers over share-issue disputes.
This comes as the coal miner recorded a $3,1 million net profit in the year to December 2012, down 26 percent from prior comparable period.
The group’s performance was weighed down by increased finance costs which went up more than two-fold to $4,1 million from $1,8 million.
During the period under review, debts increased to $31, 6 million from $24,9 million.
Turnover reduced to $104,2 million compared to $107,9 million achieved in the previous year on the back of a 25 percent decrease in sales volumes.
This followed the unprecedented reduced uptake of coal by the Zimbabwe Power Company.
Total coal sales dropped to 1,9 million tonnes compared to 2,5 million tonnes in the comparative period.
Export sales, however, grew by 28 percent to 260 803 tonnes against 203 096 tonnes the previous year.
Consequently, export revenue grew to $26,1 million, contributing 25 percent of turnover, compared to $13,4 million the previous year.
Coal sales, including breeze, were 228 201 tonnes, up by 205 percent from the previous year, while the bulk of the coke sales were from South Africa and Zambia.
The company said operations continued to be affected by archaic mining equipment, resulting in increased operating costs.
HCC recently acquired from South Africa equipment valued at $6,35 million through a short -term funding facility with a major customer.
The equipment was commissioned last year in December and had significantly improved operations at Chaba pit where it was deployed.