Anjin Investments (Pvt) Ltd., a Chinese diamond miner, has threatened to fire employees who walk out in opposition to subpar pay and working conditions.
Prosper Munemo, the deputy manager of the mine, wrote the following to the mining, plant and workshop employees on May 31: “I have heard the stance 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, everyone working the day shift in the plant, mine, or workshop must report to work tomorrow without fail.
“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.
“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).”
Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company in China and Matt Bronze Enterprises, a special purpose vehicle owned by the Zimbabwean army, jointly own Anjin.
In the Chiadzwa diamond fields of Manicaland province in Marange communal lands, Anjin Investments is engaged in diamond mining and prospecting.
However, Justice Chinhema, the secretary of the Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Minerals Workers Union, urged Anjin management to cease intimidating employees in a letter dated June 1.
Chinhema said that the management of the corporation must act quickly to address employee complaints and carry out the decisions made at a works council meeting on May 11, 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,” Chinhema wrote.
“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: “The general working conditions are deplorable and we need to bring to your attention that workers are employed to work and after working, they expect to get paid a living salary so as to bring food to their families, pay school fees, medical bills for them and extended families, buy clothes and enjoy life for someone employed by a diamond mining company.
“The ball is in your hands and if your management continues to ignore, workers are happy to continue with their industrial action. We wait to hear from you before the situation at the mine degenerates into chaos.”