via Mining sector gets salary hike – Sunday News Mar 6, 2016
Noble Ncube, Business Reporter
WORKERS in the mining sector have been awarded a 1,5 percent salary increase backdated to January this year, a rare development in Zimbabwe where most sectors are either negotiating for salary cuts or failing to pay.
The workers represented by the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) and employers represented by the Chamber of Mines agreed on Monday that the lowest paid worker will now earn a monthly salary of $251,72 a slight increase from the $248 they were earning.
Although the increase might be insignificant, workers said they welcomed the slight token considering that employers came to the negotiating table with a proposal to cut down salaries. Amwuz president Mr Tinago Ruzive said workers wanted the lowest paid worker to earn a salary above the Poverty Datum Line of around $500 per month.
“The employer body came to the negotiation table proposing a salary reduction for the lowest paid mine worker. We refused their proposal because the lowest worker (grade one) was previously paid $248. We concluded the wage negotiations and ended up agreeing to a 1,5 percent hike because of the economic situation we are facing. We are certainly not happy but under the circumstances there is nothing we can do. Internationally, mineral prices are not doing well so there was nothing to do,” said Mr Ruzive.
The mining sector is one of the few sectors still performing above optimum levels and has over the years been one of the biggest contributors to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Before the latest agreement workers were pushing for a 10 percent increment but employers were arguing that mineral prices had been plummeting on global markets.
Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Mr Isaac Kwesu confirmed that they reached an agreement of increasing miner’s salary by 1,5 percent in the coming 12 months. He said wage negotiation was the only agenda of the meeting.
Most sectors in the economy are failing to review salaries for their workers due to economic challenges the country is facing.
Even the Government has for the last few years failed to review salaries of their workers. Some companies, apart from failing to increase their workers’ salaries have been failing to pay the current salaries regularly.
Meanwhile, Mr Ruzive said they were waiting to engage the Chamber of Mines on other issues affecting workers such as availing of protective clothing and health concerns for miners.
“There are a lot of other things that need to be looked into. Mines should provide employees with protective clothing. There is also the issue of dust ventilation systems. We are still going to discuss with the chamber of mines regarding such issues,” he said.
The mining sector is reeling from various challenges, which include dilapidated mining equipment, power shortages, falling prices of minerals and unending job cuts.
The mining sector requires huge capital outlay to reach production levels that will limit the shock of international price fluctuations.
Mining has since overtaken agriculture as the mainstay of the economy with experts saying more investment in the sector could stimulate economic growth.