Chamber of Mines challenges workers’ wages review demand

Isaac Kwesu

The Chamber of Mines (CoMZ) and Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe (AMWUZ) have filed a challenge against some mine workers and the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Mineral Workers Union (ZDAMWU)’s application for review of wages.

Vongai Mbara

Recently, ZDAMWU and mine workers filed a court application challenging the Chamber of Mines (CoMZ) and AMWUZ’s proposal that their wages be increased by only 24% with effect from July 1, 2021, saying it was too insignificant.

They cited the National Employment Council for Mining Industry, AMWUZ, and CoMZ as respondents.

According to papers filed last week, CoMZ chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu said the collective bargaining process that ushered in the new wage increase was not reviewable.

“A decision which is capable of being reviewed by this court must be that of a judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative nature. In the present matter, the applicants are seeking the review of the collective bargaining process between the 2nd and 3rd respondents (NEC and AMWUZ). This is not a judicial, quasi-judicial, or administrative decision or process and as a result, the application is improperly before this court,” Kwesu submitted.

Kwesu said if the court was to do so, it should first make a finding that the collective bargaining process was unlawful or invalid premised on any ground for review that the applicants have relied on.

He said the applicants should not have sought such relief.

“Accordingly, the application ought to be dismissed with costs on this ground,” Kwesu submitted.

AMWUZ secretary-general Gideon Chirwa supported the CoMZ submission and hoped for the dismissal of the application.

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NEC announced the increment through a circular to mines dated September 28. 2021.

The increase in salaries saw mineworkers earning new gross salaries of between $30 500 and $70 740.

Following the announcement, Allen Shoko, Philip Nyajeka, Gracious Sibanda, Mako Butau, and ZDAMWU filed an application for review of the salary increase at the Labour Court.

The workers noted that the collective bargaining agreement of September 28, 2021, was irrational in that the mining industry had agreed in general that the wage negotiation should be quarterly, yet the statutes stated otherwise.

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