by C. Sunguro, ZIDAWU
A sizeable number of workers at Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) are now living in fear of victimisation after a photo of a plate with paltry beans and three slices of bread was shown in the social media. The photo appeared last week Tuesday when they were fed with a handful of beans and three slices. On Wednesday they were then given three tiny slices and a few green covo veggies. The photo displayed did not go well with some authorities who felt the photo was in bad taste and meant to dent the image of the diamond mining company. For some reasons beyond our imagination the company is not denying the existence of the picture and the pathetic situation at the mine. It is the impact and interest it has generated at both at company and the Chiadzwa community. According to reliable source ( name withheld), “the company officials are disturbed by the photo as employees are not allowed to bring in their phones for security reasons”. It is a mockery of a diamond company failing to feed it’s workers yet they are expected to improve livelihoods of locals and country at large. Things are said to be not well with the diamond company as their situation has reached rock bottom. ZCDC is struggling to feed its general workers who are staying at the company. Initially all company workers were staying at the company barracks during Covid 19 pandemic restrictions but they had to reverse the decision after failing to purchase enough food for workers. Workers in ZCDC Chimanimani portal complained of intermittently missing some meals at work. They were left with no option but to allow locals to come from their homes as a cost cutting measure. “we are better off when we are coming from our homes and not being subjected to a spoon of beans every day. We deserve better treatment than this boarding school life”, said an angry local employee from Chiadzwa. The workers in the mining and Engineering department were tipped by one of their supervisors that they have to be vigilant as to what they say at work as security officials are on witch hunting for the ‘ culprit ‘ who shared the photo.To add salt on to an already bleeding wound, the more than 1500 employees at ZCDC had not been paid for the past 4 months. It is only last week where workers had salaries equivalent to a month’s salary reflected in their bank accounts. They had not been given an explanation on what the meager pays covers and when the outstanding salaries will be honored. Already there is an outcry that their salaries had been eroded due to hyperinflation. The employees’ families are reportedly starving and failing to honour financial obligations yet they are working at one of the largest diamond mining companies in Africa in terms of size and unconfirmed diamond reserves. As Zimbabwe Diamonds and Allied Workers union (ZIDAWU) we unequivocally blast the inhumanely treatment of workers as this is tantamount to unfair labour practice by the employer. Employees deserve fair and decent treatment at workplaces according to section 65 of the Constitution. The employer must not take advantage of high unemployment rate to mistreat employees. If they do not get their salaries on time who will feed their families? As a government company, it should lead by example rather than harass or intimidate workers. Disgruntlement by workers often leads to anarchy and the earlier the company acts, the better.