By Tafara Chikumira
Workers at African Chrome Fields (ACF) are up in arms with management at the ferrochrome producing firm, amid accusations of inadequate personal protective equipment and unfair labour practices, among other issues.
Information gathered by ZBC News revealed that workers at one of the largest ferrochrome producing firms in the country earn between 600 to One thousand Zimbabwean dollars per month, figures well below the National Employment Council (NEC) minimum wage of 18 thousand Zimbabwean dollars for the least paid employee in the mining sector.
Irked by the refusal to adjust the wages in line with the dictates of the law and lack of PPEs during the Covid-19 pandemic, the workers have embarked on industrial action.
“My brother I come from Gokwe, I can’t even go back to see my family as the five USD I earn here is hardly enough for my bus fare alone… So I have arranged with my relatives to sell some goats and send money for bus fair because I can’t stand this new form of slavery,” one employee said.
“You are our only hope. We are producing big here as you can see but what do we have to show for it. We are crying to the government to say we are your children in the bush being made to make some foreigners rich and yet we are not getting anything at all. This is heart-breaking.”
“Just look at what I am wearing at the moment and yet I am at work. I am exposed to all the dangers as there are no PPEs here. The owners are constantly saying go wherever you can but you will not get any help. We have indeed suffered my brother. They can fire me, I don’t care there is nothing for me here.”
Asked to respond to the allegations, ACF general manager, Mr Mark Beukes threatened the news crew with unspecified action despite producing the necessary identification.
“Who sent you here? Why can’t you people leave us alone? This is my premises so get out. I don’t want to entertain you please leave.”
It is not the first time that ACF, a subsidiary of the Moti group of companies, owned by South African businessman Zunaid Moti, has been under the spotlight for wrong reasons after some workers laid charges against management for setting dogs on them in 2016.