Zimbabwe: Rights group calls on govt. put in place polices for the protection of workers during Covid-19

Author: New Zimbabwe , Published on: 20 May 2020

‘Mining companies violating lockdown regulations – rights group’ 17 May 2020

Government must take lessons from Covid-19 lockdown experiences to fine tune policies meant to protect ordinary workers from apparent injustice during emergency situations. These sentiments were expressed by rights group, Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) in its assessment of workers’ rights in the mining sector during the current lockdown period. According to the group’s findings, while some mining firms have taken steps to comply with the health and safety regulations, some are still exposing their workers to the dangers of contracting coronavirus.

The World Health Health Organisation (WHO) and government have issued recommendations for employers to ensure safety for employees against Covid-19 through placing sanitisers within workplaces, screening and testing of workers. However, in its assessment, the NGO noted that “companies like Hwange Colliery Company, Surewing, Zhintin (Mutoko) and Anjin Investments (Marange) have been making piecemeal commitments to health and safety of the employees. “In Mutoko, Surewing and Zhintin reportedly compromised the safety of employees by ignoring these stipulated health measures. “The two companies did not provide hand sanitisers and masks while social distance was not observed.

CNRG said the country`s biggest coal miner, Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) only started providing masks to employees on May 11 and workers were not screened while at Anjin, Marange, employees complained of poor living conditions. “Workers at Anjin said they have been camped at the company premises since the lockdown started. “About 40 people are forced to share one facility for eating, sleeping, bathing, thereby making it difficult to observe social distancing even after working hours. “The company has also not provided masks which are mandatory under Level 2 of the lockdown,” said CNRG.

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Related companies: Anjin (joint venture Anhui Foreign Economic Construction, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation & Govt. of Zimbabwe) Natural Stone