Rutendo Rori Business Reporter
More than 500 Metallon Gold Zimbabwe’s employees downed tools this Monday demanding their outstanding wages spread over five months. The workers are owed wages from April, May and November 2015 as well as January and part of February 2016.
Metallon Gold corporate affairs executive Ambassador Zenzo Nsimbi confirmed the industrial act. He however cited that the wage arrears were a result of the $7 million loss the mine had incurred due to the current low gold price regime.
“In 2015 the mine made a loss of $7 million and has been kept in operation due to interventions from other sources. Management has been working tirelessly to find alternative means to give the mine a sustainable future and the industrial action is jeopardising these efforts and negatively impacting production at the mine.
“While the mine is struggling to meet production figures, all employees in grades one to 10 have been receiving their wages on a monthly basis,” said Ambassador Nsimbi.
He said management and employee representatives’ are working towards a swift resolution to the industrial action.
When the Herald crew arrived at the mine on Monday, employees and their spouses were demonstrating holding placards and singing songs that denounced management.
One of the disgruntled employees who requested anonymity said the company should do something to uplift the welfare of its employees.
“We want our 100 percent salaries for April, May, November, and December 2015 as well as January and 15 percent of February 2016 because we are tired of going to work every day and get nothing at the end,” said the employee.
“Despite 2015 arrears the company also owes us 2014 salaries but the issue is currently in court.”
The employees threatened to continue with the strike if the company fails to meet its obligations.
Worker’s committee chairman, Mr Dzingai Makore said management has to pay 2015 salaries but urged fellow employees to sit down with management and come up with an amicable solution.
“We will sit down with management so that we can agree on their strategy towards clearing the salary arrears,” he said.
Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe President Mr Tinago Ruzive said the union is in support of the workers.
“We are solidly behind the workers because they have not been paid for too long and the issue should be resolved through dialogue. The workers’ committee and management should sit down and reach an agreement on when the workers are going to start receiving their salaries,” said Mr Ruzive.
Arcturus Mine has been operating since 1907 and since dollarisation the mine has failed to operate at its full capacity due to antiquated equipment. Low global mineral prices have also had an impact on the company’s operations.
Acturus mine comprises four underground mining operations which are Venus, Gladstone, Ceylon and Viceroy. Underground ore is processed using a combination of crushing, milling, gravity concentration and a carbon-in-solution/carbon-in-pulp circuit.