Workers continue strike at diamond fields

Mine workers at the Anjin diamond firm operating in Chiadzwa are reportedly continuing with planned strike action, over desperately low salaries.

The estimated 1,300 workers started their strike on Tuesday and have refused to go back to work until their demands for higher salaries and better working conditions are met.

One of the workers has been quoted as saying that they only receive between US$188 and US$266 per month. That worker, who refused to be named, also reportedly said that the Chinese managers at Anjin “randomly beat up people at work for no reason.”

This is the second time in recent months that staff at the mine have downed tools, and last December about 600 workers embarked on strike action for the same reasons.

The workers want their salaries to be increased to match the poverty datum line of about US$600 and better working conditions.

Anjin, which is a joint venture between the Chinese and the Zimbabwe state run Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC), has faced criticism before for how its treats its workers. It has also been condemned for the forced removal of hundreds of Marange villagers, to make way for diamond mining activities, without paying them compensation.

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri called it “shameful” that workers who daily handle one of the country’s richest resources are being paid “such a pittance.”

“The companies mining at Chiadzwa are shortchanging their employees, just like they are shortchanging the country,” Mashiri told SW Radio Africa.

He added: “This just make it even more unlikely that normal Zimbabweans will ever benefit from the diamond wealth, when even the workers who mine there are not paid properly.”

Mashiri again voiced calls for a proper diamond audit and the implementation of diamond legislation, with transparency and accountability at its core.

“Such legislation will play a very important role in the future of the country, and must put the rights of Zimbabweans first,” Mashiri said. SW Radio Africa

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