Chinese firms abusing workers: union

The Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trades Workers Union (ZCATWU) A workers union in Zimbabwe has threatened to take strong action against Chinese owned companies that are allegedly violating labour laws by abusing local workers.

The ZCATWU accused the Chinese construction companies of among other things beating up and firing local workers at will. The union said the Chinese some of the firms have claimed to enjoy protection from the government and therefore cannot be punished for abusing workers.

Union secretary general Muchapiwa Mazarura told SW Radio Africa last Thursday that the Chinese have become the biggest employer of construction workers in Zimbabwe but they are not treating workers in accordance with the Labour Relations Act.

He explained that Chinese firms are getting all the major contracts while local firms are not getting any. Before entering into agreements with the Chinese the government should also invite the workers representatives, said Mazarura. And when you to the Chinese sites you find that they do not speak English, he added.

Detailing some of the violations, Mazarura accused the Chinese companies of not providing protective clothing such as the hard hats, overalls and hard boots. He said there are no toilets on many of the Chinese sites and workers are forced to use the bush in many cases. On other sites both men and women have to use the same toilets.

Mazarura complained that workers are underpaid, because the National Employment Council (NEC) is not inviting workers representatives to discuss wages. The Chinese firms are paying locals through what is known as task work, and it pays much less.

The union leader said they have informed the ministry of labour about the Chinese violations but it seems the ministry is not willing to assist them.

Mazarura threatened to take action if what he described as the inhuman treatment continues. He said: Our strategy is to first demonstrate against the Chinese in Zimbabwe. If this does not help then our members will not work on those sites.

Post published in: Politics
  1. agatha paul

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