Metallon Gold retrenches 350 workers, fails to pay 15-month salary arrears
Having failed to pay workers their salaries for 15 months, British-registered Metallon Gold, unilaterally terminated employment contracts for more than 350 workers on 31 March this year. The contract workers had their employment contracts terminated on 31 March. They had not been paid for 15 months. Collectively they are owed about 2.1 million dollars. Early yesterday morning 10/04/19 CNRG received a Macedonian call for help from the workers who had been picketing at the mine premises since 1 April.
Police invaded the company premises last week on Friday and told the workers that the picketing was illegal and asked them to apply for a permission to demonstrate. When they applied for a 10- day 24 hour protest period the Police said the days were too many. Police then called 8 of the workers’ leaders for a ‘meeting’ at the Mutare Provincial Police HQ in Sakubva. The workers first assembled at Penhalonga Police Station from where they were transported to Mutare by the Officer in Charge, a Muzanenhamo. Whilst there was no charge preferred against them, inviting the protest leaders to the Police Station and transporting them to Mutare Rural Police Station in a police truck was itself some form of arrest and intimidation.
Police chiefs told the 8 workers’ leaders that they were violating the Labour Act without disclosing which clauses were being violated. They also told the workers their application to hold a protest against Redwing Mine had been turned down as it did not comply with provision of Section 25 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Ch 11:17, adding that they must reduce the days of the demonstration from 10 to 1. They warned that live ammunition shall be used if the workers defy the Police instruction to call off the picketing. However legal experts told CNRG the Police instruction was unlawful as POSA does not apply to industrial action. Nevertheless CNRG hired a legal expert to assist the workers re-submit their notification which set the commencement date for the industrial action on 24 April.