Home » General » Mbanda Diamonds, Workers in Salaries Row

MBADA Diamonds is embroiled in a wage dispute with its workers amid reports the company, famed for lavish funding of state and ruling Zanu PF party functions, has not paid its employees since September.

A workers’ representative Willard Zviripi told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview that a representative group of about 30 disgruntled employees, Tuesday picketed the company’s Harare headquarters demanding outstanding salaries.

However, a company official, denied the company was failing to pay wages saying the problem related to just 12 former employees who to tried to stage a scene in a bid to force payment of exit packages they claim to be owed.

But Zviripi said: “We were promised our outstanding monies on the 23rd of December (Tuesday) but here we are and nobody has cared to talk to us. We want our money and to be able to spend Christmas with our families in the normal way as all other citizens.

Zviripi said the workers did not believe Mbada’s claim that it did not have money to pay them.

“I work as a Floor Sort Operator and can categorically tell you that the company is still making money and has enough cash to run and pay its workers.

“I know that there are diamonds still being produced and as a matter of fact I know that planes come on a weekly basis to collect the gems.”

Zviripi added: “It is also a fact that, on an hourly basis, we report to head-office the number of carats produced and that happens without a hitch but these people (bosses) take the money away and claim they do not have money pay salaries.

“There are only about 30 of us here but all the workers are affected but have not been able to be with us because they actually did not have money to travel from Mutare.”

Despite the country’s economic troubles Mbada Diamonds has, over the years, been associated with lavish spending, dolling out cash and goodies at state functions as well as ruling party shindigs.

The mining company was, in the last few months, rumoured to have been sponsoring First Lady Grace Mugabe’s “meet the people” rallies that turned into a platform for a vitriolic attack on then vice president Joice Mujuru who has since lost her job as the country and Zanu PF second in command.

And, as if to indicate that all is not well, Mbada suspended its sponsorship of the country’s premier football knockout tournament. Officials said the Mbada Diamonds Cup will be played as next season’s opener.

There have also been reports that most of the diamonds left at Marange, which allegedly holds 25% of the world’s gem deposits, are Kimberlite and require expensive machinery to extract.

Companies licenced by the government to exploit the area are only equipped to pick up the alluvial gems that were discovered in the early part of the last decade and had state officials drooling over the country’s economic prospects.

Source : New Zimbabwe