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29 Apr 2020

Kudzanai Gerede, 263 Chat (Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe: Mine workers live in fear of contracting the coronavirus

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‘Mine Workers Fret Over COVID-19 Risk At Work Place’ 21 April 2020

Mine workers are at high risk of contracting the Covid-19 as most mines are yet to adhere to stipulated guidelines in the fight against the spread of the virus, a worker union has said. President Emerson Mnangagwa on Sunday reprieved the mining industry from lockdown and emphasized on strict adherence to safety rules. However, the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Workers Union (ZDAWU) claims that mine employers have not put in place safety measures for their employees.

…"For a mine to be exempted ,they were required to apply through the Chamber of Mines or Zimbabwe Miners Federation making a commitment that they will observe the lockdown regulations that were set like decongesting the work place ,observance of respiratory hygiene, personal hygiene, social distancing at work as well as in transit to and from work," "We noted that the conditions set to operate were not fully observed," ZDAWU said in a statement. Some mines were earlier granted permission to operate during the initial phase of the lockdown and the Union says it noted the workers concerns and asked authorities to intervene buy coming to observe the situation at mines but their request was never granted.

…This publication could not be able to fact check the situation on the ground at various mines but mining industry sources close to 263Chat said the situation was not the same across the industry with some mines fully protecting their employees but however agreed that some mines were facing serious protective equipment challenges. Some mines are sending home employees on unpaid leave in violation of the provisions of the Labour Act, a development which will antagonise industrial relations and subsequently lead to disruptions in productivity on the mines, observers warn.

Part of the following timelines

Extractive companies' response to the Covid-19 pandemic

Zimbabwe: Workers in fear of contacting Covid-19 as unions demand right to monitor operations