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THE Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has given Vumbachikwe Mine a seven-day ultimatum to pay workers outstanding salaries and recapitalise the business, or face corporate rescue management.
The Gwanda-based Vumbachikwe Mine, which is owned by Duration Gold, shut down around the end of last year after workers went on strike over unpaid wages and poor corporate governance.
Justice Chinhema, the secretary-general of ZDAMWU, wrote a letter to Vumbachikwe Mine administration requesting that they resume operations, pay all outstanding salaries in full and provide a detailed work schedule.
“It is sad to note that nothing has been paid to the workers and the wage bill is ballooning every month. From all the statements from you, nothing has been put in place that points to payment of salaries, thus we are concerned with this continued suspension of operations,” the letter reads in part.
The letter added: “ZDAMWU believes in engagement of parties in addressing employment relationships and have been advocating for dialogue between all parties concerned, but have been ignored.
“It should be clear that workers are employed to work and after working they expect to get paid their salaries in order to bring food to their families, pay school fees, medical bills for them and extended families, buy clothes and enjoy life of someone employed. Schools have opened and your workers are unable to send their children to school like every parent.”
The company’s financial difficulties, according to Chinhema, were becoming increasingly obvious to the impacted employees and other stakeholders, such as the union.
“The current situation points to lack of strategic direction and we now have the view that the failure to pay salaries on time and other obligations are due to financial mismanagement and lack of proper management,” he said.
“There is great variance on workers welfare and the extravagance on the part of the shareholders. To be honest with you manager, we have lost confidence in the shareholders of the company and its management. Workers have been living in abject poverty and facing hardships under the watch of the current management who have failed to find lasting solutions in all problems that affects parties to an employment contract.”
The management was subsequently given a seven-day deadline by the union to resolve all outstanding issues or face corporate rescue management.
”With all the above, we are under instructions to demand the following from your management within seven days: all outstanding salaries be paid in full to everyone owed within the seven days of receipt this letter; 2022 back pays and all allowances be paid in full at once by the last day of January 2023,” he further emphasised.
The union also asked that Vumbachikwe Mine guarantee that, going forward, all salaries will be paid in full at the end of each month via its shareholders.
“No employee will lose his or her employment because of anything, instead the management team should see heads rolling for poor management. A financial re-capitalisation must be made so as to secure jobs of current workers,” the letter read.
“In the event that you fail to address the above within the stated time, or chose to ignore, we are under instructions to immediately consider the process of corporate rescue which we believe is long overdue.
“As you may appreciate, corporate rescue is meant to resurrect failing entities. In our view, we should not wait until another mine collapses, and jobs lost, but diligence requires that we act now.”
Vumbachikwe, one of Zimbabwe’s oldest gold mines employing over 1 000 workers, is owned by Duration Gold Limited, a Clarity Enterprises Limited subsidiary.
The Matabeleland South entity also controls Gaika and Queens mines in Matabeleland North.
According to the 2022 data of significant mining businesses published on the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company website, Duration Gold possesses a total of five key assets with historical output of 4,6 million ounces.
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