BY SILAS NKALA
The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZIDAMWU) has taken the National Employment Council for Mining Industry, Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) and the Chamber of Mines Zimbabwe (CMZ) to court challenging the recent 24% wage increase, which it described as peanuts.
The National Employment Council (Nec) announced the 24% increment in a circular dated September 28, which it said had been agreed upon for the industry with effect from July 1, 2021.
The increment saw the minimum salary of mine workers increasing from $30 500 to $70 740.
But last Friday, Allen Shoko, Phillip Nyajeka, Gracious Sibanda, Mako Butau and ZIDAMWU filed an application to challenge the increment at the Labour Court, where they cited Nec, AMWUZ and CMZ as respondents.
In their application for review of mine workers’ wages, they argued that negotiations should be done quarterly.
“The respondents must be ordered to convene wage negotiations to set the minimum wage for the last quarter of 2021 within 10 days of the order of this court. Respondents must be ordered to pay the costs of suit.”
In his founding affidavit, Shoko said: “On September 28, the respondents signed a CBA [collective bargaining agreement] in terms of the Labour Act. On the same date, the whole mining industry was served with the outcome of the Nec minimum wage.
“The applicants were surprised by the outcome, hence this application for review, more specifically on the grounds that I was never consulted, personally or through my union before a decision to make this third quarter CBA applicable to the last quarter, to make representation to the employee representatives at Nec.
“AMWUZ, in line with the audi alterum partem [listen to the other side] principle did not consult me or my union, which has about 10 000 mine workers as its members.
“They went on to make an adverse decision to allow the third quarter CBA to also apply to the period for the fourth quarter against the standard practice in the mining industry that wage negotiations are done on quarterly basis.”
Mine workers said they were not consulted before a decision to increase their salaries was made, adding that it had been sent to the Mines minister to make it a statutory instrument, a situation which would disadvantage them.
The respondents are yet to file their opposing papers.