Zimbabwean Diamond Miner Anjin Threatens Workers Over Strike For Poor Pay
Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd, a diamond miner in Zimbabwe, has warned its workers of dismissal if they go on strike to protest against poor salaries and working conditions. The mine’s deputy manager, Prosper Munemo, sent a memorandum to mining, plant, and workshop workers, urging them to continue working while negotiations take place. Failure to do so would be treated as absent without official leave.
Anjin Investments is jointly owned by Matt Bronze Enterprises, a special-purpose vehicle owned by the Zimbabwean army, and the Chinese investor Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company.
In a memorandum dated May 31 addressed to mining, plant and workshop workers, Mr. Prosper Munemo said:
I have heard the position that you took at your meeting with the workers committee in which you pointed out that you are not going to work tomorrow (Thursday). However, all those who are on day shift at the plant, mine and workshop should go to work without fail tomorrow.
What you ought to understand is that these are negotiations which take a bit of time to come to a consensus, so as the negotiations are going on, everyone should be at work.
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Failure to go to work will be taken as AWOL (absent without official leave) since you did not follow the right procedure about resorting to a collective job action as laid out in section 104 sub-section (2) of the Labour Act (Chapter 28.01).
Anjin Investments is involved in diamond exploration and mining in Manicaland province’s Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange communal areas.
The Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Minerals Workers Union has called on Anjin’s management to stop threatening workers and address their grievances instead. The union listed the grievances as poor working conditions, lack of proper clean ablution facilities, health facilities including ambulance and medical doctor, working under dusty conditions without suitable and adequate protective clothing, and a living wage. The union warned that workers will continue with their industrial action unless their demands are met.
The Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Minerals Workers Union secretary Justice Chinhema said in a letter dated June 1, 2023:
A properly constituted works council is resolved and there is no other board or structure that can recede or change the resolutions besides the Labour Court. Further, unless the matters listed hereunder are addressed, workers have resolved not to report for duty and will continue with the current collective job action across all departments.
The other issues that the workers are demanding to be resolved are poor working environment (safety and health issues), workers are working without proper clean ablution facilities, health facilities including ambulance and medical doctor, working under dusty conditions without suitable and adequate protective clothing.
Chinhema added that the general working conditions at Anjin Investments are deplorable, and the workers expect to receive a living salary to support their families and enjoy life. The union warned that if management continues to ignore their grievances, workers will be happy to continue with the industrial action, and the mine situation could degenerate into chaos.