Crisis Coalition calls for the unconditional release of workers at Vumbachikwe Mine






For Immediate Release


November 10, 2022

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition condemns the recent arrest of workers at

Vumbachikwe Mine in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province for protesting over

outstanding salaries.


Reports indicate that an estimated 179 workers were arrested by anti riot police

on November 9, 2022 after they protested over the non-payment of their April,

July and October salaries.


Police claimed the workers failed to comply with the set conditions for the

sanctioned demonstration and charged them with public violence. Reports

indicate that gunshots were fired as police tried to disperse the restive workers.


Earlier on November 7, 2022 the police had fired teargas canisters to disperse

the workers’ wives who were demanding payment of their husbands’ salaries.


The Coalition condemns the acts of slavery at Vumbachikwe Mine which goes

against the dictates of the constitution and in particular, Section 65 (on Labour

Rights) which guarantees the right to a fair and reasonable wage as well as the

right to engage in collective job action, including the right to strike.


The events that unfolded at Vumbachikwe Mine are reminiscent of the colonial

era and it is unfortunate that we continue to witness acts of brutality against

workers in a modern Zimbabwe.


The Coalition implores management at Vumbachikwe Mine to honour its

obligations and pay the workers their dues. We also demand the unconditional

release of the workers.


Responding with brutality to genuine calls for payment is an act of slavery and

should never be tolerated in a modern day society.

It has to be noted that the ill treatment of workers is spread across various

sectors in Zimbabwe.


The government of Zimbabwe has also criminalized trade unionism, as has been

evidenced by the continued persecution of trade union leaders for organizing

workers to demand better salaries.


In August 2022, the President of the Zimbabwe Professional Nurses Union,

Robert Chiduku was fired for organizing nurses to protest over poor salaries.


On November 9, 2022 the Health Services Bill which bars health workers from

protesting for more than 72 hours sailed through Senate and now awaits

Presidential assent. This certainly is meant to thwart the medical practitioners’

labour rights.


President Emmerson Mnangagwa is on record threatening anti government

workers and on October 19, 2022 he threatened teachers against engaging in

protests.


Reports of Chinese employees abusing workers continue to be reported and in

October 2022, the government of Zimbabwe announced that they are probing

the cases.


Although we remain skeptical, we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to

expedite the probe and proffer recommendations aimed at protecting the rights

of the workers.


The Coalition stands in solidarity with the suffering workers of Zimbabwe and

we reiterate that workers rights are human rights and should be respected.

The government’s vision of an Upper Middleclass Economy by 2030 remains a

pipe-dream as long as long as workers’ rights continue to be violated.

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