GWANDA- Some 200 formerworkers in Gwanda who were dismissed in December last year for engaging in an illegal strike have been given notices evicting them from company houses with effect from Tuesday (February 7) this week.
Vumbachikwe is run by Duration Gold and the majority shareholder's Clarity Capital, a British based company. The mine is located 20 km away from Gwanda Town.
However, the MP for the area (Gwanda Central), Edson Gumbo said the matter was now with Government and accused the company of unfair labour practice. He said he would fight for the rights of the people of his constituency.
He said that the workers were living on a salary of $21 a month and this is not sustainable.
He advised all dismissed workers to register their names so that he can take the matter to Cabinet.
"We know the workers have not been getting salaries, how are they expected to live on $21 a month? The mine is claiming that there is low production but how do you expect people to work on empty stomachs?" he asked.
Enos Sithole, the president of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions accused Vhumbachikwe of failing to remit subscriptions to the Union. He said the Union will despite that still go ahead and give representation to its members. He also said there were no hearings held before the company dismissed the workers.
"There were no hearings that were conducted before the dismissals and subsequent evictions. The employees were protesting against the mine's failure to remit 15% of their deducted salaries towards their pensions to the Mining Industry Pension Fund. Deductions to NASSA, medical aid and funeral polices as well as Unions subscriptions were also not remmitted.
"These had not been paid for the past three years," said Sithole
A disgruntled worker said Vhumba the company has violated human rights by humiliating, the workers, their families and children.
"This company has reduced us to nothing. We were getting $21 the previous months instead of $350. We had no access to the company clinic and they were not remitting to our medical aid. I am a father of 5, I am left with one child because the other kids were taken away by relatives who realised that I can no longer look after them," said the worker.
Another worker said, "We cannot just pack and leave without a fight. These people owe us a lot of money and they must give it to us. How are we expected to transport our goods? What will happen to our children who are learning here? We are not going anywhere without our money."
Efforts to get comment fromVumbachikwe Mine authority were fruitless.