The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has called on the government to enforce a temporary shutdown of all mines to allow testing of all workers as well as carrying out proper disinfection against Covid-19 to safeguard workers and their families.
In a statement seen by GreatDykeNews24, the union’s Secretary General Justice Chinhema said statements from Bulawayo Mine (How Mine), Unki Mine and Hwange Colliery indicate that the mines have been hit by thecovid-19 wave.
“How mine is reported to have the highest number with 10 infections as of today (Monday).
“In as much as we are live to the economic cost this has to the nation, lives matter ahead of profits.
“While wider consultations are being rolled out, the union is calling on all mines to start putting in place strict measures by proving adequate Personal Protective Equipment to their workers and families who stay in compounds as a matter of urgency, especially Chinese employers.
It is sad to note that government allowed mines to operate against our advice without putting strict measures to protect their workers at the onset of the lockdown in April this year,” he said.
He added that the union is also worried by the continued influx of imported cases especially from Botswana and South Africa and has affected communities in the Southern parts of the country as returnees are reported to be crossing the borders using undesignated points.
“We are calling on government to move fast and curtail this crisis before it continues to spread in the mines which are closed communities.
“The union has sent a distress signal to its members to be on high alert and should immediately report to the union suspected cases of covid-19 at their workplaces as most employers will not want this information to be disclosed for selfish benefits.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and if need be, we will not hesitate to direct our members to down tools to force these capitalists employers to respect and protect lives in mining communities ahead of profits,” added Chinhema.
Meanwhile, as at 04 August 2020, Zimbabwe had 4057 confirmed cases, including 1057 recoveries and seventy 80 deaths.