When oppressors are touted as all weather friends : The case of the Chinese in Zim

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has revealed cases of gross abuse of workers by Chinese employers.

Below, we outline ZCTU’s findings at one Chinese firm, Sunny Yi Feng:

• Employees complained that a number of their coun- terparts have been injured, some killed, and women sometimes collapsing because of exposure to gas leaks as well as scaled up workplace Gender based violence and violation of national legislation and Convention 190.

• Employees are paid less than the stipulated minimum wages/salaries, exposed to unsafe working conditions, and noncompliance with labour standards.

• Workers were asked to pay for Personal Protective Equipment and each got a deduction of fifteen United Sates dollars.

The company violated safety and health regulations as employees worked without provision of adequate personal protection equipment.

They have not been taken for occupational medical checkups

• The majority of workers have been injured and some killed as a result of workplace hazards and none of them compensated.

There is serious under reporting of workplace acci- dents and this needs to be investigated.

• Most workers were paid way beyond their actual paydays. They also did not have pay slips, they were paid way below the stipulated minimum wages

• Working hours were in excess of eight hours per day as stipulated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement covering the ceramic sector.

• Workers were denied the right to gather and discuss working conditions including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Recommendations from the ZCTU

• Payment of appropriate stipulated wages/salaries

• Management is requested to honour the provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and pay workers the correct minimum wages according to their grades.

On working hours, management is requested to stick to the hours prescribed in the Collective Bargaining Agreement and any hours in excess should be deemed as over time and paid in terms of stipulated overtime calculations.

The other area that should be corrected is on delayed payment of wages. We implore management to start paying employees on time not beyond the stipulated date of pay.

Wage deductions for attending sanctioned meetings or having gone to see a doctor must be discontinued and all those employees whose wag- es were deducted should be refunded their monies.

• It is very important that a comprehensive safety and health inspection be conducted and that all the workers taken for specific occupational medical checkups as a matter of urgency.

They should also be established safety and health committee including the workers committee, which must start engagements with management through organised meetings.

• The current structures where workers are housed should be demolished and better houses built for all the workers.

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