CHAOS erupted during a meeting between management and employees of the troubled Sabi Mine in Zvishavane yesterday when workers threatened to physically attack their bosses for trying to force them to accept unpaid backdated leave.
Mine workers slammed the management led by Sabi Mine manager Levison Machiri, human resource manager Sebastian Muranga and finance manager Edgar Banda for infringing on their labour rights after declaring that all workers had to go on forced unpaid leave.
Workers’ union representatives told Southern Eye that chaos started when mine management announced it wanted to effect forced unpaid leave with effect from June 10 when the mine’s woes had started following attachment of property by the Deputy Sheriff.
“Workers rejected their proposal. How can they inform us now that from June 10 we were on forced unpaid leave?
“We want our outstanding dues together with a lump sum amount before we can negotiate for the so-called unpaid leave,” the mine’s workers’ trade union chairperson Mariko Mahaso said.
Workers said mine managers had become irrelevant as it had failed to address their grievances and they now wanted the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation general manager Wilson Chinzou to address them.
“Workers highlighted that there was no negotiation with local management, but wanted Chinzou to come and address their grievances first before any other proposal by the Sabi Mine management could be discussed,” the workers’ union chairperson David Chiroirombo said.
Since the “collapse” of the gold rich mine, workers were only given $15 and $30 as salaries for June and July respectively.
The government, through the Mines ministry had initially showed great concern over the mine closure with deputy minister Fred Moyo announcing that a $7 million loan had been secured for the mine.
Last month, some illegal gold panners pounced on the mine and got away with gold ore worth thousands of dollars due to poor security since operations were halted.