Diamond miner retrenches

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HARARE – Jinan Mining (Pvt), a Chinese company mining diamonds in Chiadzwa, has retrenched over 30 contract workers  citing viability challenges.

In a November 28, 2013 correspondence to employees, Ntombi Mlilo, the company’s human resources manager, said they had been hit hard by financial difficulties.

The company, which owed workers salary arrears, said it could not renew the employees’ contracts but promised to pay them their arrears in full including their terminal benefits.

“The reason for not renewing the contract at this time is because the company is facing financial difficulties,” reads the letter. “Your services will not be required, but you will fully be paid until the end of your contract.

“The company will pay all the outstanding salaries during the period of this contract,leave pay, gratuity and any other terminal benefits which they deserve to get you.”

The workers however dispute the company’s claim that it is facing liquidity challenges arguing that all the diamonds mined since the company opened its doors in July 2012 had not yet been sold as they were being stockpiled.

The workers have since approached the Labour Court for arbitration, which has been set for January 8, at the Mutare Labour Court.

The workers argue that the termination of their contracts was illegal.

They also protest the severance packages, with the longest serving employee getting a paltry $1 500 which workers argue was not properly calculated.

“It is not possible that the company is broke when all the diamonds we mined since last year have not been sold as yet. It is not fair that we are dismissed when the company is preparing to sell what we have been sweating for the whole year hence our decision to approach the courts for redress,” said one employee who spoke on condityion of anonymity.

Companies mining diamonds in Chiadzwa which include Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Company, Jinana and Kusena Gye Nyame last week claimed that they have hit a hard rock and that alluvial deposits of the precious stones were fast running out.

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