The state-owned diamond miner, Marange Resources has failed to pay its worker for a month, attributing the delay to the seizure of the company’s cash after a gem auction in Antwerp recently, a company official has said.
Zimbabwe lost $45 million in diamond revenue which was seized in Belgium after a tender in September when the European country allowed South African firm, Amari Platinum Holdings, to recover part of a $500 million debt owed by state owned miner, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).
Marange Resources chief executive, Mark Mabhudhu said yesterday that the company was only behind in payment with a month due to the diamonds cash seizure.
“Marange Resources is only one month in arrears in respect of the employee salaries, that is the month of October, 2014. The reason for the arrears is attributable to the judicial attachment of our diamonds in Antwerp, Belgium whereupon we could not realize our financial gains,” he said.
He said the company’s creditors had also not been paid as a result and was planning to pay them after a local sale next month.
Sources at the mine said that workers had also been paid 60 percent of the September salaries.
The sources also claimed that the company had not awarded workers a five percent salary increment approved by the National Economic Council.
However, Mabhudhu maintained that Marange Resources salaries were “competitively” in the mining industry and that its rates were above the NEC minimum rates.
On routine checks health checks which the sources said were not being done regularly resulting in some workers suffering from tuberculosis and other dust-inhalation diseases, Mabhudhu said employees underwent regular checks.
“This varies from as frequent as six monthly to yearly as appropriate. Be reminded also that these are legally enforceable checks and are enforced through specific regulations,” he said.
According to the Auditor-General’s report for parastatals for the year ended December 2012, Marange Resources owes treasury $3.1 million in corporate tax and $663 000 in value added tax accrued in 2010.
Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers Union president, Cosmas Sunguro expressed concern over late payment of workers.
“They (workers) have commitments to pay schools fees, rentals and other things and so the company should make sure that workers are paid on time,” he said.
He appealed to the company to offer workers incentives such as loans to buy housing stands.
“My worry is that these workers are mining diamonds which are running out yet they have nothing tangible to show for it,” he said.
He said workers should be allowed to have regular meetings to discuss issues to do with safety and health and for them to be granted longer contracts instead of the three to six months some were getting.- The Source