Mine workers have described their recent 100% wage hike as "double nonsense," despite an agreement between the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) and Chamber of Mines effecting the raise.
The two had come up with a new salary structure that would have seen the lowest earning mine employee get ZW$93 074, up from ZW$44 640 according to the mines' national employment council (NEC).
The highest paid would have earned ZW$215 872 from ZW$103 535.
"This notice serves to bring to your attention the following new minimum rates of pay for grades 1-3 were agreed upon in dual currency (US dollars and ZW dollars) by the Associated Mine Workers of Zimbabwe and the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, on 19 May 2022 and will be subsequently sent to the Ministry of Labour and Social Services for registration and publication," the NEC secretary general Taurai Kabote had said.
The agreement, according to Kabote was subject to review based on the prevailing economic situation within the industry.
His promises and pronouncements, done at time the industry is battling to motivate workers earning devalued local dollars, have been trashed.
Workers' representative and Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) general secretary Justice Chinhema said the hike was an embarrassment which needed to be challenged.
He dismissed the salary hike, arguing as long as it is in the local currency it is a non-starter.
"Another slap in the face of mine workers. Double nonsense. Even if they negotiate for 500% hikes, as long it is in the RTGS (local currency), it is a non-starter, the only solution is in American dollar," said Chinhema
"There is need for a petition to challenge this, it did not come from the workers. AMWUZ does not represent workers interests, they have become part of the bourgeoisie class.
" These guys take mine workers for fools. Looking at the current official exchange rate, the increase on the minimum wage is US$1 up to December."
Chinhema said mine workers were expecting at least US$400.
"It is an insult to workers, especially to stretch it to December. Mine workers expected a minimum of at least US$400. This was set during the country's hyperinflation period and the country knew that mining is the backbone of the economy," he said.
"In other African countries, for example Ghana, mine workers earn a minimum of US$700."