Home » General » Mbada Workers Strike Continues

MORE than three weeks after the striking Mbada Diamond workers camped at the company’s upmarket Borrowdale headquarters demanding to be paid their dues, management is yet to address them let alone cough out a penny.The strike action entered day 24 today, with the aggrieved employees vowing to stay put at the company’s head office at Sam Levy Village, despite the eviction order served them through the courts recently.

In court papers, Selina Zhuwarara, the acting chief administration officer, argued on behalf of Mbada Diamonds that the workers had forcibly and unlawfully deprived them of possession of the property.

While the workers denied that they used any force, the court granted the eviction order sought by their employer.

At least 500 workers made redundant by the company are owed significant amounts in unpaid salaries and terminal benefits varying from US$5 000 to US$30 000, depending on the grade of each employee.

Although one of the richest companies at the onset of the Chiadzwa diamond mining, Mbada which started in 2009, has in the past two years seen its fortunes waning.

Since September last year, the gems miner has been unable to pay its employees.

Between November and December last year, the company dispatched notices to terminate employment for 500 workers, giving them three months notice till date of termination.

The workers were supposed to serve their notices while from home. But the workers, some from as far as Bulawayo, Birchenough, Guruve and Chinhoyi, have been camped at Mbada head office after management abdicated on its promises.

“What has infuriated us and brought us out here is that several promises to pay us have been made and none of them honoured,” said a workers’ representative only identified as Kuda.

He went on: “This has been going on for a long time. We were first told we would be paid on December 23, but we were not. Then we were told December 29, again nothing. Then they promised January 5 yet nothing happened. Then they said we would get something on February 28. When that also failed, we decided to come here to get our monies. We have been here since March 3.”

This week, the workers said they will soon bring their families to join them.

“We will soon be bringing our families,” said a worker who spoke to the Financial Gazette this week. “We are not leaving until we get our money.”

When this paper arrived at the scene, there were about 40 workers milling about at the premises where the gate was closed and the offices looked deserted.

Kuda said the crowd fluctuated between 60 and 100 as some would leave to take care of certain errands or to bath, among other things and come back.

The workers sleep at the premises eat there, spend the day there and they even wash their laundry and hang it at the upmarket premises, where management is said to have deserted on the day the workers came.

Management were not picking up their phones when the Financial Gazette called.

Source : Financial Gazette