Hwange Workers Threaten to Strike, Unpaid for 15 Months

WORKERS at the financially troubled Hwange Colliery Company have given management a three-day ultimatum to pay up their salaries or face a crippling industrial action.

\n

Hwange

\n

The 3,000 workers have not been paid for more some 15 months and accuse management of not sharing the pain by giving themselves allowances through unnecessary local and foreign trips.

\n

The total bill for outstanding salaries now stands at US$25 million.

\n

Workers blame the company’s problems on managing director, Thomas Makore, who they accuse of being an irregular “visitor” at the coal miner.

\n

The company is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) with the government and businessman Nick Van Hoogstraten the major shareholders.

\n

Union officials who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com said if their salaries are not paid by February 16, 2015 they would down their tools as they have been rendered destitute by their employer.

\n

 “Last week he (Makore) and some board members had gone for a week-long visit to India and right now he has just proceeded to South Africa for another week-long business sojourn which we believe does not add any value to the mine,” said the union official who declined to be named.

\n

“Since he joined the colliery as managing director there is nothing tangible that he has done for the mine except empty and embarrassing promises.

\n

“The only positive things that have come from him are the travels and subsistence allowances while some of us are being reduced to paupers in our own territory.”

\n

The company is also struggling with a ballooning debt of more than US$180 million with production failing to rise to expectations.

\n

Production has continued to nosedive with output now averaging 140,000 tonnes per month against a target of 300,000 tonnes.