Zimbabwe workers ill-treated – November 2011

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There are allegations that Chinese companies are ill-treating workers and violating health and safety regulations in Zimbabwe.

The Minister of Labour Paurina Mpariwa confirmed that the National Social Security Authority (NNSA) had instituted a probe after receiving reports that the Chinese were ill-treating workers to the extent of even physically assaulting them.

Mpariwa said:  “NSSA, through its Occupational Safety and Health Division conducted the necessary investigations through site visits to ascertain the accurate position.”

Unsafe and unhealthy conditions

Initial visits to the targeted companies had indicated that the most violated regulations included lack of toilet provisions, poor electrical installations, lack of personal protective clothing and absence of personal guards on machinery.

In some cases NNSA has suspended operations until all requirements have been met and in extreme cases culprits are being prosecuted.  These allegations were also confirmed by Mr.Mazarura who is the Secretary General of Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Traders Workers Union (ZCATWU). He said close to 12 000 members of the union were being subjected to inhuman treatment and that out of the complaints received so far the most serious offence received by the union involved physical assault.

Dismissals and more

There are also allegations that employees are being dismissed without being given adequate notice, and that at certain workplaces there is an absence of separate toilet facilities with women and men sharing the same ablution facilities.

According to Mazarura efforts to resolve the disputes are futile as the Chinese reportedly claim “government immunity”.

Meanwile, Minister Mpariwa has confirmed that her ministry was at an advanced stage in implementing recommendations by the (ILO) so that the country conformed to ILO Safety Standards.

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