via Workers stranded as Chinese miner closes – New Zimbabwe 24/03/2015
A CHINESE chrome mining and smelting firm in Gweru closed down last month leaving workers stranded.
The company is yet to settle outstanding salaries and allowances backdated to 2011, NewZimbabwe.com has learnt.
According to workers who spoke on condition of anonymity, Xin Yu Mining, shut down operations mid-last month with the owners threatening employees who asked for packages.
In 2010 the company came under spotlight for violating labour regulations. The firm was allegedly underpaying and overworking employees resulting in the workers taking the company to the labour court.
At that time, the workers sued the company for unfair labour practices after it emerged they were being paid $86 per month but worked 12-hour shifts daily.
An arbitrator ruled in favour of the employees and ordered the company to operate within the minimum standards of the mining industry but company owners never honoured the order.
“The employer is still to pay us outstanding salaries and allowances yet has not been open as to whether we will get paid,” said one worker.
Another worker said the employers were in the habit of threatening workers whenever they ask for payments adding that the company just announced the closure to them (workers) without giving details.
“They gave us notice they were ceasing operations on the 14th of February but no other details were given,” he said.
Company representatives, Mr Wang Yizhe or its director, Mr Lin were not available for comment.
In a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Midlands region report released this January, ZCTU central region chairperson Martin Tazvivinga revealed that they were having problems with Chinese companies in the region including Xin Yu.
“New players in the industry, and Chinese-owned companies in Gweru, like Jin An, Xin Yu and Nelson Holdings operate under pathetic working conditions.
“Workers are underpaid and the courts are choked with cases from these Chinese-owned companies,” part of the report reads.