ZIMBABWE – Workers at Tolrose Gold Mine have approached the Labour Court following a pay dispute with Grace Mugabe’s son Russell Goreraza, who seized the mine in October 2013.
The workers went on strike last Friday demanding that Goreraza pays them their wages backdated to October, amid complaints that some employees and union leaders have been assaulted for asking for their wages.
“He is looting and running the mine mafia-style,” National Mine Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Tinashe Mugwira told SW Radio Africa Friday.
“The situation is gloomy for more than 351 families who used to rely on the mine for their survival since Goreraza took over.”
“There are no systems in place to ensure that workers are paid. He (Goreraza) comes, collects the gold and goes. Some workers and union officials including myself were assaulted trying to engage the new management over wages.”
“Anyone who raises a grievance is either dismissed or taken away and assaulted,” said Mugwira, who also said he too was beaten up by Russell’s uncle and Grace’s brother, Sam Marufu.
Efforts by the Labour Ministry to intervene reportedly failed after Goreraza tore up the papers served on him, telling the workers that he was “above the law”.
The ministry then referred the matter to the Labour Court, which has since appointed an arbitrator, a Mrs. Musunhe, to look into the allegations made by the workers against their employer.
“He said to us ‘you use the law, I use the power of my mother’ and we are not sure he will turn up for arbitration. We are also looking into asking the courts to attach the mine or some assets so that workers can get their dues.”
“But with the mafia-style management at the mine we do not think this will even be possible. We had hoped that with the publicity surrounding this dispute the First Lady and Goreraza’s step-father (President Robert Mugabe) would intervene and do something but this hasn’t been the case,” Mugwira added.
Tolrose Mine’s human resources manager Nyasha Munangwa denied allegations that workers were not being paid when approached by the NewsDay newspaper Wednesday.
“The allegations that we are not paying workers are false and are being pushed by people with an agenda,” Munangwa told the newspaper. SWRADIO AFRICA