Renco Mine workers go on strike over perpetual salary delays

…company sets double-digit gold output target but fails to pay workers

Moses Ziyambi

RioZim-owned Renco Mine has today, July 07, suspended operations after workers went on strike over continuous salary delays that have seen the company sometimes falling behind by a full month in salary payments.

Mine workers who spoke to this journalist on condition of anonymity said it was unacceptable that the company has never paid salaries for over one year and counting.

“It seems like it’s now company policy to delay salaries every month. As of now, we haven’t received June salaries yet they still expect us to go to work. We need to pay our bills and we need to buy food for our children. After all, our salaries are very poor and we are not happy at all,” said one employee.

Another employee said the company was deliberately delaying salaries of ordinary employees while at the same time pushing them to increase production.

“There is no a single week that we have failed to meet their target. Management has made it clear that they only accept a double digit figure of gold output per week. And right now the average that we are producing is 11kg,” said the employee.

When contacted for comment, general secretary of the Zimbabwe Diamond Mining and Allied Workers Union (ZDMWU), Justice Chinhema castigated RioZim for serious workers’ rights violations.

“RioZim is perpetrating gross abuse of human and workers’ rights in Zimbabwe. We have written to them before but they ignored us and they have lied too many times to government and to workers. At Renco Mine, we are told that the gold must be at least 10kg per week and as of June, employees worked harder and produced between 11.5kg and 12.5kg per week. Why then is management failing to pay employees fairly and on time?

“This is a sign that these so-called foreign investors are here to loot our minerals while making workers destitute and making our country poorer. We are now campaigning for the inclusion of a ‘no pay no work’ principle in the Labour Act,” said Chinhema

Renco Mine is owned by Indian business people through RioZim which also owns Cam and Motor gold mine and Murowa Diamonds.

The company’s other two businesses, Dilny Mine and Empress Nickel Refinery recently offloaded 400 employees citing viability challenges.

Renco Mine Acting CEO Taurayi Nyamukondiwa refused to provide a comment, saying he was not allowed to speak to the media.

RioZim CEO, Rajgopal Swami also refused to give a comment, saying company policy does not allow the provision of information to journalists over the phone.

“You have to come here in person or send an email. Otherwise write what you want, we don’t mind,” he said.