Gaths mine workers forced to call off strike

MASHAVA - Striking workers at Gaths Mine in Mashava have been forced by Zanu PF officials to end their week-long industrial action over unpaid salaries.

Over 800 workers downed tools last week demanding payment of their  salary allowances of over six months.

The Daily News heard that Zanu PF Member of Parliament, Ezra Chadzamira called the striking workers for a meeting and forced them to return to work without pay.
The workers said they were threatened with dismissal  if they failed to comply with the order.

The employees  who spoke to the Daily News on condition of anonymity fearing victimisation said Chadzamira, the Masvingo West legislator, summoned  workers’ representatives in a meeting attended by war veterans and members of the State secret service and ordered them to go back to work while their salary issue was being addressed.

“The strike was called off yesterday after entering the second week.

“Zanu PF members led by MP Chadzamira ordered us to return to work,” said a worker at the asbestos miner.

“We didn’t get our payments and we were just told to go and work while we wait for our salaries, but it’s not clear when that will be.”

Howard Chivasa, the Gaths mine workers committee chairperson, declined to comment   saying he was barred from talking to the press. 

Chadzamira confirmed holding the  meeting with workers but denied he forced them to go back to work.

“It’s true we had a meeting with workers and their management. We wanted to resolve the issue of the strike and I did not force anyone to go back to work but the workers respected and put trust in me as their MP,” he said.

But other workers insisted they were threatened to go back to work.

“We were ordered to go back to work or we get fired,” said another worker who also declined to be named fearing victimisation.

“They said those who resisted the order were opposition supporters and were threatened with unspecified consequences.”

The workers bemoaned the interference by Zanu PF in labour matters.

George Nkiwane, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, lambasted Zanu PF for meddling in labour issues.

“We are disturbed by reports of interference of politicians in labour issues,” Nkiwane said.

“The MP or politicians do not have any role to play in resolving salary or any other labour-related disputes between workers and employers — so we condemn in the strongest terms the interference by the Masvingo West MP and his counterparts. We want to tell him hands off labour unions. They are there to play that role.”

The workers, who have not received full salaries for the past six years since the mines were put under government management following their seizure from businessman Mutumwa Mawere, told the Daily News  government released $500 000 for their half salaries and allowances in December but the money did not reach them.

Comments (4)

Chadzamira ndiye akadya mari yevashandi

CHINOMUKUTU 3 - 22 January 2014

Chadzamira ndiye akadya mari yevashandi

CHINOMUKUTU 3 - 22 January 2014

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Clean Water - 23 January 2014

VanaChadzamira, kudzidza kwacho hamuna. Wenyu mugodhi munawo wani muchipurazi chenyu chenhemha where you mine your gold? why do you want to interfere with Gaths operations? Moti kuuraya vanhu futi on top of that. Mauraya MASHAVA nechimhondi chenyu nekukara. apa chero 2+2 hamuoni. endai kuzungura muri zii apa!

Tongogara - 23 January 2014

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