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    Saturday, 28 January 2017

    AMWZ fight Vhumbachikwe workers’ dismissal after strike

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    GWANDA - Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe has engaged its lawyers after Vhumbachikwe Mine unilaterally dismissed 50 employees for engaging in a strike in December 2016.
    The employees were protesting against the mine's failure to remit 15% of their salaries towards their pensions to the Mining Industry Pension Fund since August 2013 which has allegedly resulted in the company accruing areas of over $3million.
     "We have taken legal action against the mine for dismissing the workers. The fact that the mine has already deposited terminal benefits in the victims' bank accounts is a clear indication that they think it's over and done with the case," said Dingilizwe Zondo the Organizing Secretary of the union.
    The workers engaged in the strike after learning through their colleagues who had retired that there was no pension for them since Vhumbacikwe had not been honoring its obligations since 2013 as it owed almost $1million as of 2013 according to a memo from MIPF seen by The Mirror.
     "We advise that Vumbachikwe Mine owes contributions from August 2013 –December 2014. Mine's arrears amount to US$993, 823," read part of the letter dated January 10, 2015 that was sent to the Mine by the MIPF.
     "As workers we were eager to know where our monies are going after we learnt from our colleague or widows who had retired and failed to access their pensions," said an employee who preferred anonymity
     "Reference is made to the pension withdrawal application for the above referred member. Unfortunately we are unable to process the claim as the mine is not up to date with payment of the contribution fund. Normally, payment would only be made upon full payment of the outstanding contributions. We may however, with the member's signed consent, pay up to July 2013 which was the last month in which the contributions were last paid," read a letter written to an affected widow who opted to remain anonymous.
    Zondo said, "According to the Labour Act Section 104 workers are empowered to go on strike without notice depending on the dispute. In this case the strike was justifiable and it is our duty to support the interest of the workers."
    Meanwhile, Vumbachikwe Mine Human Resources Officer Listine Mhere could not be reached for comment as her mobile phone was not reachable.
      Vumbachikwe Mine which employs a sizable number of people from Gwanda is under Duration Gold which is majority owned by British based Clarity Capital and is situated 20km away from Gwanda town.
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