Zimbabwean union condemns inhumane treatment of 150 cement workers

(Photo: www.newzimbabwe.com)

The Cement, Lime and Allied Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (CLAWUZ) condemned the inhumane treatment of 150 workers employed at the Diamond Cement Company near Central Zimbabwe’s Kwekwe City. 

CLAWUZ, a BWI affiliate, reported that the Chinese company forced the said workers to stay in its cement plant for five months and put up with deplorable working and lodging conditions. 

The union said that the workers were forced to agree with the company out of fear of losing their jobs in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. The workers explained that the company threatened everyone who will leave the company would not be allowed to return. 

“We are not getting enough food and we sleep in cargo containers. Above all, we miss our children and spouses dearly,” said one of the workers of the company, who refused to divulge his identity. 

CLAWUZ said that the company is anti-union. It said that its officials went to the company several times to talk and organise the cement workers, but were constantly prevented and threatened by the company. 

Amidst a failing economy, Zimbabwe’s workers are some of the most vulnerable sectors to COVID-19. In 2019, the country’s economy shrank by some 6.5 percent. The World Bank projected a further contraction of 5 to 10 percent this year as a result of the pandemic.

As of 2 November, Zimbabwe has 8,374 confirmed COVID-29 cases and 243 deaths.