By Staff Writer
There have been escalating reports of abuse of local workers at Pensions Mine in Penhalonga which is owned by a Chinese firm, Sino Africa Huijin Holdings Private Limited.
In one of the latest incident, a worker, Hardlife Mutiwekuziwa narrates how he was hit by a stone in the ribs by his Chinese boss only identified as Joe after a misunderstanding during work.
“I was with my workmate when we were instructed to move a crusher from some place to another place at the site.
“We did exactly what we had been instructed but Joe became agitated and started shouting at us.Owing to a language barrier we couldn’t hear what he was talking about.
“In a fit of rage, he hit me with a stone on my ribs, “narrated Hardlife.
He was advised against reporting the matter to the police as the accused Chinese national promised to pay medical compensation before he became evasive.
“At first Joe wanted to fire me but some in the management reasoned with him to cater for my medical bills.
“However, he has become evasive and now I am failing to seek medical treatment because I have no money. I am also being told I need a police report to access medical treatment,” added Mutiwekuziwa.
Another Chinese national at the mine known as Shiman is alleged to be also notorious of abusing local workers at Pensions Mine.
He is accused of having attempted to run over a worker with a truck but fortunately the worker escaped with minor injuries.
In another incident, he hit a worker with a knobkerrie accusing him of stealing diesel. They were both arrested. He failed to appear in court and a warrant of arrest has since been issued.
This reporter asked comment from from one of the managers at the mine Chuan Mu known as Kim who promised to issue a response but reneged.
The Progressive Mining and Allied Industries Workers Union of Zimbabwe (PMAIWUZ), interim General Secretary, Phillip Mafundu blasted the Chinese firms for flouting the country’s labour laws and seeking protection from bigwigs in the ruling elite.
“These Chinese nationals are in the habit of flouting Zimbabwean laws deliberately and do not care whatsoever about the lives of poor black workers. They are imperial capitalist. They only care about profits at whatever means.
“They also use names of influential politicians when perpetrating these offences, most of the times as a trade union when we visit these Chinese run mining sites we are told to seek clearance from influential politicians,” fumed Mafundu.
He further says his union won a labour dispute against Pensions Mine but has been facing resistance from the company to honour the workers’ dues.
“We currently won a case against this company for 4 workers who were dismissed in December 2021 and we are at the stage of attaching property as the company has refused to pay the workers their dues. Actually the Mutare High Court Sheriff has already attached the property.
“The company is underpaying workers and refusing to pay workers statutory allowances saying they won’t because they are in partnership with someone very powerful in the country,” adds the PMAIWUZ boss.