Villagers join striking Renco Mine workers' wives

MASVINGO - Villagers from Nyajena communal lands have joined striking Renco Mine workers’ wives who are demanding salary increments and annual bonuses.

The wives staged a strike on Monday and blocked their husbands from going to work after they sealed off the main entrance to the gold mine.

Villagers have joined the wives in solidarity, arguing their sons and daughters are also employed at the Rio Zim-owned gold mine, which is the biggest gold producer in the province.

The villagers are accusing Rio Zim of failing to honour its corporate responsibility pledge to contribute to the development of their community, which surrounds the mine.

“We have joined the wives of workers who are underpaid by this mine to show solidarity because the issue affects us since we have sons working here and also the mine has failed to meet its pledge to assist in developing our villages as a part of corporate responsibility,” said Shingirirai Zvavamwe, leader of the villagers.

She said Renco Mine had promised to help with construction of a tarred road to link Masvingo city, Nyajena and other villages.

The villagers said the mine had pledged to assist in reviving Rupike Irrigation Scheme, which is a massive project with potential to boost food security.

“You see, as a mine operating in our community we agreed that it would assist us in developing our area,” Zvavamwe said.

“The mine promised to help change the face of our infrastructure but it has done nothing. Our gravel road is a sorry sight, it is in bad shape, and they lied that they would help revive Rupike Irrigation Scheme but still they have done nothing.”

On Monday over 800 women from the mining compound barricaded the mine, toyi toying and singing songs demanding their husbands’ dues.

Renco Mine workers’ wives association leader, Doreen Madzora said the strike, which entered its third day yesterday, will continue until their demands are met.

“We are still camped at the gate and the strike continues, we won’t let the mine operate until our husbands get their bonuses and increments,” she said.

The least paid workers in grade one is paid about $100 and the wives are demanding the company to pay a minimum of $500 to them, in line with the Poverty Datum Line which is estimated around that figure.

Workers are victimised and can have their employment terminated for embarking on a job action, a situation that has forced their wives to take action, leading to the villagers to join in.

Workers claim that, despite getting paltry salaries, they were working “over time” for up to 15 hours a day and claimed the mine was producing up to 80kgs of gold per month, worth millions of dollars. The Daily News could not independently verify these figures.

Renco Mine workers committee chairperson, Vincent Matiza said: “The strike by our wives has entered day three and they have been joined by villagers in solidarity and have their disgruntlements concerning their community.”

Efforts to get a comment from Rio Zim managing director, Ashton Ndlovu, who was said to be out of the country on Tuesday, were fruitless as his mobile phone went unanswered.

Villagers are also accusing the mine of discharging dangerous chemicals like cyanide into their local river, which is a source of drinking water. - Godfrey Mtimba

Comments (3)

colletive bargaining is the appropriate solution but in working enviroment they is need to understand that one is the beere of power and the other must be submissive

Kurira Nyasha - 22 October 2013

colletive bargaining

kudzai goredema - 24 October 2013

the mine owners failed to impliment their corperate social responsibility thus,they had took a wrong turn.Bamburger and Meshulum (2000)

mutambara - 6 November 2013

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