Marange diamond mine workers demand 20 percent stake in merged firm

Marange diamond mine workers demand 20 percent stake in merged firm

MUTARE – Marange diamond workers are demanding a 20 percent shareholding stake in the newly established Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), a union official has said.

The wholly-owned state company was formed earlier this year when the government forced out seven firms from operations in the Marange fields. Government accuses the firms of failing to account for diamond revenue and resisting its plans to consolidate the sector in a bid to enhance transparency.

According to initial plans, government would own 50 percent of the merged firm, with the private firms that held licences to mine in Marange sharing the other half. At least two of the firms have taken the government to court over the seizure of their concessions.

The Zimbabwe Diamond Miners Workers Union (ZDMWU), which represents employees in the sector, says it has tabled demands with government.

“We demand a definite threshold of employee share ownership. There should be a 20 percent stake set aside for worker with 15 percent for non-managers and five percent for managers,” said ZDMWU secretary general Justice Chinhema told The Source.

The diamond mine workers are currently battling to get their outstanding wages and terminal benefits from their former employers, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources and Diamond Mining Company (DMC).

The workers have been left stranded with limited options to recover their dues after their former employers were kicked out of Marange to pave way for the amalgamation of the vast diamond concession without settling their backlog.

ZDMWU has since mounted a legal challenge against the mining firms and threatened to picket Mines Minister Walter Chidhakwa’s offices over the unpaid wages and termination benefits.

“We also demand that government set a minimum wage (for diamond workers). We further demand a good working environment in the diamond sector. No to casualisation of labour and victimisation of workers in the industry,” said Chinhema.