Dumped diamond workers threaten war

Dumped diamond workers threaten war – NewZimbabwe 21/03/2016

WORKERS dumped by Marange diamond companies say they will, this week, storm the ministry of mines offices after government allegedly ignored a request to force their former employers to pay salaries outstanding from 2014.

Over 2,000 workers are said to have lost their jobs with several companies which were mining diamonds in Chiadzwa after government, in February, ordered them to cease operations.

Shutting the companies down, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said some of the firms had been operating illegally for the past five years.

President Robert Mugabe also recently claimed that diamond mining companies could have prejudiced government of about $15 billion.

Zimbabwe Diamond Miners Workers Union secretary general Justice Chinhema told NewZimbabwe.com that they were mobilising members so that they “come and pitch their tents at the mines ministry’s offices until government orders the diamond companies to pay off the workers”.

“We have reached that decision after government told us that all the affected employees should apply to the new consolidated company, a clear indication that government has no plan for the affected workers,” said Chinhema.

“We wrote to the ministry of mines and we were summoned by one Vera who happens to be the operations director in the ministry who told us that the affected workers have to reapply for employment.

“To us, this means that government is not for the affected workers and, given that response, we have been left with no option but to mobilise workers and storm the ministry with our genuine concerns maybe that is the language they would understand.”

Chinhema said they wanted the new consolidated company government is forming to “unconditionally” employ all the affected workers.

“We had requested from government that no company should remove its equipment from Chiadzwa before paying the workers their outstanding salaries,” he said.

“We are also worried by lack of consultation by the mines minister whom we hear through the media that he has been visiting Chiadzwa and we do not know who he is meeting with.”