Workers at Turk Mine were joined by their wives yesterday to protest against non-payment of salaries and poor working conditions.
When The Chronicle visited the mine in Bubi district yesterday morning, scores of miners were camped outside its premises together with their wives who had joined the protest.
The mine’s employees were complaining that they had not been paid their salaries for the past three months yet they know the company is producing a lot of gold.
Some of the women who joined the protest said they were considering denying their husbands their conjugal rights to pressurise them to demand their dues from work.
“We’re supposed to be paid $240 a month but for the past three months we have not received our salaries. We have families to look after but we are unable to take care of them because of money issues. We are not going back until our concerns have been addressed,” said one of the workers.
Workers also said the mine was forcing them to buy groceries on credit from the mine’s shop which charges exorbitant prices.
Another employee said the company was providing them with two litres of maheu before sending them to work.
The workers said working on a hungry stomach was the worst thing that can happen to people in their line of work.
They also complained of poor safety procedures saying on a yearly basis they lose some of their colleagues as shafts collapse on them.
“The situation is bad and the company seems not to care. We’re always having these incidents that result in the death of our colleagues but nothing is done to improve the situation,” said another employee.
The wives of the miners weighed in saying their lives have become unbearable due to failure by the company to pay their husbands.
“We’re starving, there is no food in our homes. We can’t continue like this. This is the reason why we are also here protesting against the company. We need to pay rent and how are we going to pay fees as well. Some of our children failed to register to write O’Level because of non-payment of salaries and we continue being told wait a little bit longer,” said one of the women.
The company’s chief executive officer, Mr Jackson Murehwa, said low ore production was the reason for the mine failing to pay its workers.
“It is true, salaries and wages at the mine are in arrears and that is unfortunate. However, the arrears are due to low production due to inadequate ore coming out of the mine.
“Efforts by both management and workers are in place to try to increase production so that enough revenues can be generated to cover both costs of inputs and staff,” said Mr Murehwa.
He said poor working conditions were being addressed through engaging workers.
Mr Murehwa said they hope to resolve the standoff within the shortest period.
- The Chronicle