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PRESS STATEMENT ON CHINESE LABOUR PRACTICE IN THE MINING SECTOR

For Immediate Release!        Dated 05/07/2021.

Following the recent Article Of 17 June 202 in which the Chinese embassy and  Sun Yi Feng Public relations officer, Mr Mukumba accused the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its General Secretary Mr Japhet Moyo of tarnishing the image of the Chinese investors. In their statement they said, “The publications carry single stories from uninformed sources who, rather than being constructive, are more destructive to the image of the company. From the onset, the reports have been influenced by actions of conspiracy as a result of revenge distortion,” the company’s public relations officer, Alex Mukumba said. He expressed disappointment saying ZCTU had been allowed access to the company’s premises on mutual understanding not knowing the labour body had a hidden agenda.”

We would want to make the following statement. The call for the Chinese Embassy to put its investors in order has not started today. In June 2020 ZCTU petitioned the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Guo Shaochun to whip its members to order for violating labour and human rights, .following the  incident in which a Gweru Chinese businessman, Zhang Xueun shot and injured two employees – Wendy Chikwaira and Kennedy Tachiona – during an ill-fated wage dispute. Therefore, to say the Labour body has a hidden agenda is a low blow by the Company.

As Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union, we would like to put it on record that we share the same sentiments with ZCTU. ZIDAWU is a registered  organisation working with mining employees,  mining and mining affected communities.  An organisation found by some former workers of Anjin in Chiadzwa after experiencing hardships in violations of human and labour rights. Therefore, the ruthlessness,  ill and degradatory treatment,  underpayment of wages, working long and unpaid overtime, poor accommodation facilities and food are not conditions known through hearsay but experience. Thus, the allegation that ZCTU is uninformed in its claim against the Chinese employers must fall away.

The statement made by ZCTU is true and we intend to lodge a national and  global campaign using the Zimbabwean labour law and ILO standards as it is clear that the firms are not willing to come to table with labour body but rather attack it, and paint it as a” distorted revenge seeker with hidden agendas”   We will not watch from afar while the labour movement gets to be unjustifiably politicised.

LET IT BE KNOWN THAT OUR POLITICS AS TRADE UNIONS IS OF THE STOMACH, AND NOT OF RULING THE COUNTRY, AS EMPLOYEES WE DEMAND DEMOCRACY AT WORKPLACE, RESPECT OF LABOUR AND HUMAN RIGHTS AND NOT TO BE SUBJECTED TO SLAVERY CONDITIONS.

Over decades , trade and labour relations with relations with foreign invsetors has become common place  that the locals’ rights have long since been sold for a dime along with the sold cooperate spaces : mining industry space and other forms of trade. So now our huge predicament is not only in china’s violations of workers’s and general human rights in general but has an undeniably strong bearing on the person(s) who stuck a price tag to our God-given rights. Period!  We have our local Ministers and political big wigs  who enter into ventures with the chinese and are actually  “feeding on proceeds” from the sales of our rights. Thus, the petitions and cry of employees to have their rights respected being adamantly ignored.

The workers at Anjin in Chiadzwa has been at workplace since 2020 Covid 19 Lockdown, working overtime that is erratically paid, with no leave of absence.  Leaving the premises warrants dismissal from work. The employees are being paid at somewhat similar rate irregardless of one’s grade of Work. There is no decent spacious accommodation even as Covid19 restrictions has to be followed. The living conditions of Chinese employees and that of Zimbabwean employees are significantly different. There is discrimination among local and Chinese employees. Any attempts to get hold of Anjin representative are futile as they are said to be in Harare all the time. The bottom line, is the Chinese employees are not complying with the labour laws and that is all that as worker’s representative we demand. We refuse to go back to slavery or to Smith regime. And we reiterate that, our politics is of the Stomach not of ruling the country or of who should invest. NEVER!

Zimbabwe is open for business. However,  Business and human rights aspect should be effectively addressed so that profits are not maximised at the expense of locals. Labels like ” authors of illegal regime change, suborteures of national socio-economic programmes,  treasonous and all that misnoma is old fashioned. We talk of the new dispensation and vision 2030 where all citizens should be treated as Upper middle class and the National Development strategy 1 of 2023 envisions an economy where all citizens will be at hundred percent in earning upper class middle income per household. How do we envision, re-engagement with the International community if that engagement is at the expense of the citizens of Zimbabwe?

We demand fulfilment of the following rights as embodied in Section 65 of the Constitution and the labour Act [Chapter 28:01] and its ammendments.

The right to fair remuneration,

Right to fair labour practices,

Right to safe working environment,

Right of affiliation/ membership to a relevant trade union of choice,

Right to form workers committee/ trade union,

Right to have a works council,

Right to be heard.

SHINGA MUSHANDI SHINGA!

A LUTA CONTINUA!

By Cosmas Sunguro

 ZIDAWU President.

For more information contact: +263772763209.  Email zidawuinfor@gmail.com

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