ZDAMWU: “Mine Workers are Facing Modern-Day Slavery!”

May 1, 2024
6 miners killed 15 trapped underground in collapse of a gold mine in Zimbabwe 18ae68ca2c8 large | Report Focus News

The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) asserts that there is no cause for celebration on this year’s Workers Day, as mine workers endure what they term “Chibharo,” a form of modern-day slavery.

In a statement marking May Day on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, Justice Chinhema, the General Secretary of ZDAMWU, highlighted the El Nino-induced drought exacerbating the plight of mine workers. He emphasized that this Workers Day arrives at a critical juncture, as mine workers persistently strive to reclaim their rights, secure fair wages, and combat excessive exploitation.

Chinhema urged employers to prioritize workers’ welfare, and called upon the government to ensure the dignified treatment of mine workers. He emphasized the need for attentive listening to workers’ concerns and swift action to address them, decrying the current situation where workers are effectively enslaved by employers.

He lamented the poor working conditions and inadequate remuneration faced by mine workers, pushing them into poverty despite their crucial role in the economy. Chinhema criticized the delay in salary payments by some major mines, even amidst stable production, and highlighted pervasive issues such as unsafe working environments, the “earn as you work” system, casualization of labour, and labour brokering, which perpetuate exploitation and modern-day slavery.

He warned that mine workers have reached a breaking point and are mobilizing to defend their rights against exploitation. The union aims to advocate for comprehensive reforms, including the modernization of labour laws and the implementation of international safety standards.

Additionally, ZDAMWU has introduced a Sexual Harassment policy to combat gender-based violence and sexual harassment within the mining sector, recognizing and addressing the unique challenges faced by female mine workers. It reaffirmed its commitment to advocating for the welfare and rights of the workers, both male and female, and pledges to continue its efforts to achieve meaningful change within the mining industry.