Tuesday the 8th of November 2022 saw more than five hundred disgruntled Vumbachikwe (known as Forbes and Thompson Duration Gold Mine) spouses of mine workers descend on the mine entrance and block the morning shift (their husbands) from entering their respective workplace and report for thier usual duty at the Gwanda gold mine.
By Maxwell Teedzai | Subsequently, employees of Vumbachikwe Gold Mine are alleged to have immediately notified Gwanda police who reacted by allegedly shooting in the air, throwing tear gas and beating up the women and their children who were embarking on a lawful and peaceful industrial action in an historic solidarity support strike to help thier husbands get a living wage as they are being grossly underpaid by their respective bosses.
“Police brutality is unexpected and unwarranted and especially when it is unleashed on women and children who are standing in solidarity with thier husbands to help push thier bosses into compliance with the April 2022 NEC – National Employement Council wage adjustments which to date have not been duly effected,” argued Kurebwa Javangwe Nomboka the President of NMWUZ – National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe.
Consequently, lastest reports indicate that the Gwanda Police’s alleged reaction worsened the scenario when suddenly they reacted by unleashing terror on the unsuspecting women and children who had staged the solidarity strike to help thier husbands get their April 2022 back-dated wages which to apparently remain unsanctioned by thier husbands’ employers.
New information trickling in seem to further reveal that the entire Workers’ Committee of Vumbachikwe Gold Mine were this morning allegedly taken into police custody but with charges leveled against the workers’ representatives still unknown.
Other sources privy to this report alleged that the Office of the President and Cabinet and Resident Minister for Gwanda Mr Abednego Bhebhe have engaged unionists and a selected few from the Vumbachikwe Gold Mine Workers’ Committee to iron out issues between the employers and the employees.
“It’s unlawful for the President’s Office and the Resident Minister to engage mine workers to negotiate with us while some of our members are in police custody and some of our members’ wives and children have been injured,” said Nomboka.
However, employers at Vumbachikwe have shifted the blame on the mine workers and asked the police to press charges against them.
“We strongly feel that employers at Forbes and Thompson Duration Gold Mine of Gwanda are doing injustice to both the workers and their respective spouses who were merely exercising their fundamental right to a peaceful demonstration in which they’re demanding that thier bosses honor the long standing April NEC wage adjustment which remains unimplemented to this day,” fumed Nomboka – President of NMWUZ.
Meanwhile, the Vumbachikwe bosses have remained adamant, as they continue to turn a deaf ear to the demands of the angry spouses of mine workers whose wages remain inhuman with the least worker earning as little as rtgs$15k.
This month of November is the worst since April as some wageslips came with no wage at all (rtgs$0.00)and without the April 2022 NEC stipulated wage adjustment of an aside US Dollar payment.
Consequently, NMWUZ President has warned that he would soon organise a spontaneous strike in direct response to the recent Vumbachikwe management’s provocation which has subsequently brought to a halt all mining activities at the Gwanda Gold Mine.
“The spontaneous strike which we’re organizing for Vumbachikwe won’t be for the entire mining sector in Zimbabwe but like a wildfire it might burn the entire mining sector in Zimbabwe,” retorted Nomboka.
Nomboka further noted the unavailability of proper monitoring and follow-up procedures by NEC as some of the major logistical pitfalls affecting the livelihoods of employers in the mining sector in Zimbabwe.
Reports coming in have further revealed that police brutalized and injured several mine workers and about a hundred women are reported to have been injured as well.
Nomboka has vowed unrest in the extractives sector for as long as employers continued to exploit workers.
The mining sector in Zimbabwe is the biggest foreign currency earner yet workers in the selfsame sector remain among the poorest in the SADC – Southern African Development Community.
Although the solidarity strike by Vumbachikwe Gold Mine Workers’ had been cleared by the police, the police still went ahead and victimized the many women and children who took part in the industrial action.
“We demand a living wage that is above the PDL – Poverty Datum Line to be awarded to the lowest grade in the mining sector in Zimbabwe”.