Chinese miner assaults employee over missing buckets

A worker at Yakuts Investment in Matopo was allegedly assaulted Thursday by his Chinese employer on accusations of stealing empty buckets.

The worker has since been dismissed from work while the Chinese employer, He Chisheng Mike, is not new to controversy.

In July last month, Mike appeared in press reports accused of enslaving the mineworkers after he denied them rights to leave the mining premises and forced them to stay in shacks with no toilets.

Workers were also reportedly subjected to verbal abuse and forced to pay US$20 for Covid-19 tests whenever they left the premises.

In the latest incident, sources told CITE Mike accused Charles Muswaka of stealing some empty buckets, which he denied.

“There was an altercation between the two, Mike then kicked down the doors to his room looking for the missing buckets but he didn’t find them. He, however, proceeded to fire Charles and three other workers who questioned his actions,” sources claimed.

Muswaka has since left the mine for his home area in Chitungwiza and he was not reachable on his mobile phone.

In an interview, a member of the mineworkers’ committee, Isaiah Mukuli confirmed the incident.

“Of course I wasn’t there when it happened but other workers testified the incident took place. It seems the boss and the colleague got into an argument over missing empty buckets so the boss went to look for them in his room and they ended up fighting,” he said.

“Charles was dismissed from work on Wednesday. When the boss asked him about the buckets Muswaka said he only had the ones he was given. Since Mike has a short temper, he broke down the doors and started fighting until Muskwa decided to leave the yard and only came back in the evening.”

Mukuli noted that although Muswaka had already been laid off from work, he was told to continue until August 27, 2021, so that he could be paid his monthly wages.

“The boss then calculated his wages and paid him for August and September. The rule of payment is 52 percent of the salary is paid in forex and the other 48 percent paid in RTGS,” said the workers representative.

He indicated that when the worker’s committee asked what Muswaka’s ‘real crime’ was, they were given flimsy reasons.

“We heard he damaged a battery and other things but we realised that Mike doesn’t want to work with him anymore. Anyway, Charles has since left for his home as he informed me he was going back to Chitungwiza, Seke,” Mukuli said.

Mukuli also said officials from the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare visited the mine on Friday morning to assess the situation.

“We had a meeting together with people from the Labour office this morning. The boss was advised to find peaceful ways of resolving conflict,” said the workers representative.

“As workers, we also asked that all communication and processes be made formal. If the management is not happy with a worker there must be a formal hearing and communication must be done orderly. There must be no shouting as if we are in a bar.”

Mike could not be reached for a comment.

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