Production ground to a halt, Monday, at leading coke producer Dinson Colliery after workers withdrew their labour in protest of poor salaries and working conditions.
The workers say they were forced to resort to industrial action after management refused to hear out their grievances.
Over 350 workers staged a sit-in outside the company’s gate vowing not to report for work until their grievances were addressed.
“We want the company to improve our remuneration as well as working conditions. We are demanding salaries in US dollars because goods and services are going up daily rendering our pay useless,” said one worker who refused to be named.
The lowest-paid worker is earning between ZWL20000 and ZWL25000.
Another worker told CITE that the company as part of improving working conditions needed to address issues of meals and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
“We are also demanding that management looks into the issue of meals where the food doesn’t constitute a standard diet. We are fed with cabbage daily and only have meat on Saturdays while the mealie meal is of low quality. The issue of PPE is also important and we are saying the company should provide that for the safety of its workers.”
Employees are given meals mostly lunch and supper by the company.
The workers mostly from the surrounding villages under Change and Dinde wards also want to be allowed to join trade unions as well as form workers committees.
Efforts to get a comment from the management were fruitless as they were locked up in marathon meetings with the workers’ representatives.
However, it is understood that the company pledged to pay 35 percent of salaries in US dollars while 65 percent would come as local currency starting next month.
They also promised to look into the issue of PPE and diet.
At the time of publishing the workers had reportedly suspended their sit-in and gone back to work.
Dinson Colliery began operations early last year in the Lukosi area, Hwange and is on an expansion drive that will see it becoming the biggest coke producer in Africa.