Employees of a Chinese firm, Ming-Chang Sino-Africa Mining Investments, which operates a lime plant in Bubi say they are being ill-treated and abused by the owners.
The Chinese investors also operate gold mines in Shamva, Shurugwi, Bindura, Mazowe, Kwekwe and Kadoma.
One of the employees who spoke to CITE on anonymity for fear of victimisation alleged that they are underpaid and are forced to work in the mine shaft without any protective clothing, exposing them to injuries and other health hazards.
“We are being underpaid with the minimum getting $6 a day and the highest getting $11 a day.
“We have tried reporting the issue to the authorities from last year and also tried engaging with them but nothing has changed,” he said.
The workers also accused the mine owners of verbally and physically abusing them as they work.
“They are racist; employees are insulted, kicked, embarrassed and fired anytime without any warning.’’
“They do all that because they claim they have immunity from the Zimbabwean government so there is nothing that people can do”.
They also claimed the Chinese investors said they could not pay them full salaries as the mine is still under construction.
The employee further added that they are restricted from joining any labour union.
“They do not want any labour unions coming to this side so we are forbidden to join them.’’
“We tried engaging National Employment Council of the matter, it was taken to court but unfortunately the Chinese owners never bothered to honour their court appearance and nothing happened thereafter.”
According to the workers, the surrounding communities are also at risk due to the pollution caused by the mine.
“The community is in danger of contracting diseases due to gas inhalation, crushing plant dust and lime dust.
“The tar (a byproduct from the coal gas maker) is just discarded anywhere, polluting the environment.
“There is nothing put in place for dust suppression or cleaning the gases produced from the kiln and gas maker”.
Contacted for comment, the mine manager Mr Richard Kamboma confirmed the abuses but said he could not divulge more information over the phone.
“We do have these issues with our employees but it will be better, you should come to the plant and we talk face to face,” Kamboma told CITE.