By Everisto Nyamandi
Tensions are rising at Murowa Diamonds, as labor and salary disputes between the mine’s workers and the company management have reached a critical point.
The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) and the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU) have expressed grave concerns about the ongoing issues, warning that they could lead to a work stoppage by the mine workers.
In a joint statement, CNRG and ZDAMWU said Murowa Diamonds, a significant player in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry, has been operating at full throttle, achieving impressive levels of productivity. However, this has not translated into adequate salary disbursements and other essential benefits for the workers, sparking outrage among employees.
The CNRG and ZDAMWU assert that the welfare of the workers is not a priority for the company and that it is prioritizing profits over the well-being of its labor force.
“As ZDAMWU and CNRG we are calling upon Murowa Diamonds to address the challenges faced by its workers. Murowa Diamonds must take immediate action to address the pressing labor disputes, wage issues, and poor working conditions.
“We are aware that Murowa Diamonds is a member of the Natural Diamond Council, which aims ‘to promote the positive and sustainable development of the global diamond sector.’ Certainly, such high standards cannot be attained when workers’ welfare is neglected. The daily risks taken by workers to liberate diamonds from the belly of the earth must be honoured and fairly renumerated,” read the statement
CNRG and ZDAMWU reiterated that it will continue to advocate for standard working conditions and an overall improvement in the operational environment to ensure a conducive atmosphere for diamond mine workers.
“We will not rest until diamond mine workers at Murowa Diamonds, and other diamond extraction companies receive their dues on time and continue to advocate for standard working conditions, above-board collective bargaining processes, institution of works councils and general improvement in operational environment for a conducive working atmosphere for diamond mine workers,” noted the organisations
Workers at the diamond mining company have not received their salaries on time, causing financial distress for them and their families. The workers are also discontented with their work schedule, which has not been officially approved.
Many workers are on short-term contracts, typically lasting one month, which creates job insecurity and the works council, a crucial platform for workers’ representation, is non-operational.
Workers also face difficulties in commuting to the mine due to issues with the transport system and receive inadequate salaries compared to the profits generated from the mined minerals.
The existing pension fund has not adequately supported workers, who are now demanding a defined pension fund for the diamond sector.
These challenges have left mine workers in a precarious position, struggling to meet their basic needs, including purchasing food, paying school fees, and covering medical expenses.