THE Associated Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Amwuz) will demand a 10% increment to the 2016 minimum wage when they meet the employer body, the Chamber of Mines for wage negotiations, Standardbusiness has learnt.
by Kudzai Kuwaza
The mining wage negotiations come at a time the mining sector is reeling from various challenges, which include a debilitating liquidity crunch, falling prices of minerals, massive job losses and power cuts.
Amwuz president Tinago Ruzive told Standardbusiness this week that the national executive met with representatives from all the major mining houses last week and agreed on a 10% increase in the minimum wage for next year.
“The national executive met last month [on November 19 and 20] with representatives from all the major mining houses,” said Ruzive. “We agreed that we need a 10% increase in the minimum wage that will be awarded for next year. The Chamber has just told us the meeting will be soon but no date has been set.”
This comes at a time when there have been indications that the employer body is not willing to award any increase on the grounds that the 3% increase effected for this year was more than enough given that inflation was at around -3%.
Informed sources said the Chamber would not entertain the mine workers’ demands, arguing that doing so would sound a death knell for the sector which is grappling with a plethora of challenges.
“It is not possible to implement a 10% increment when other mines are struggling to pay the current minimum wage. Giving a 10% increment will have devastating consequences for the mining industry,” an official said.
But Ruzive said the demand for a 10% increment took into account the low salaries mine workers were currently earning, which he said were well below the poverty datum line. This could set the stage for a clash and protracted negotiations similar to those for the 2014 minimum wage, which lasted almost six months.
The majority of the more than 50 national employment councils have agreed on an increment of less than 5% for 2015, with several failing to increase wages, due to the tough operating environment.
The first meeting to discuss the minimum wage is expected to take place within the next fortnight.