BY SILAS NKALA
WORKERS at the Chinese-owned Dinson Colliery Company in Hwange are forced to work under inhumane conditions, with no off-sick and leave days, no pay and no protective gear, their union has alleged.
The mine is situated 15km before Hwange town from Bulawayo at Mpongola village and employs over 360 workers.
The Solidarity Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (SOMWUZ) alleged that the mine management was blocking them from meeting the ‘enslaved miners’, who are also members of the union.
SOMWUZ secretary-general Prince Mpala told Sunday Southern Eye that they have reported the company to the National Employment Council (NEC) over unfair labour practices.
“I have also engaged the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) in Hwange and mining inspectors in Bulawayo to check the safety and health of the mine workers at Dinson Mine, but to my surprise none of them have visited this mine and workers are working without any safety awareness,” Mpala said.
“Workers work in high temperatures, with poor PPE that do not suit hot areas. If you get sick or injured, the chances of being paid whilst at home are very slim.
“After being barred from entering the Dinson Mine Colliery premises, we took the matter to the National Employment Council for the mining industry in Bulawayo.”
Mpala also said the company has also refused to remit employee membership fees to the SOMWUZ.
“Workers haven’t been paid their back-pays as from July to date. There is no comment on whether or not they shall pay the outstanding back pays,” he said.
The mine manager Steve Dinson dismissed the claims as not true when contacted for comment.
“No one has complained to us over working conditions and pay. We are paying all workers according to the NEC standard. We have also given PPEs to everyone and no one has ever complained about them,” he said.
Dinson mining company was founded in 1992 and has been operating in Zimbabwe for the past 10 years in areas like Salous Mashonaland West and Hwange. The company has opened a new branch in the Midlands.
The company focuses on mining and coking coal.