R I P
- Nov 2, 2006
wafanyakazi mgodi Bulyanhulu wagoma toka asubuhi ya leo
THISDAY REPORTER Dar es Salaam said:
MORE than 1,000 miners at the countrys biggest gold mine have threatened to go on strike today following a protracted dispute with management over pay and conditions. Trade union leaders at the Bulyanhulu gold mine in Kahama District, Shinyanga Region have declared a formal strike, citing poor medical care, for one thing.
But according to Greg Walker, general manager of the mine owned by Canadas Barrick Gold Corporation, the management was still holding talks with union leaders in an effort to avert the looming strike action. As far as I know, there is no such strike planned. Management will be meeting union leaders tomorrow (today), Walker told THISDAY in a telephone interview from the mine premises yesterday.
The Australian-born GM said the discussions scheduled for today would cover all the outstanding issues, thus he did not expect the workers to go on with the strike. Bulyanhulu, the countrys biggest underground gold mine, employs a total of 1,971 workers including some 178 expatriates. About half of the expatriate staff at the mine (90) are employed in management/supervisory positions, while the rest work at technical, operational and administration levels.
On the other hand, some 160 Tanzanians are in manpower supervisory positions at the mine, while the vast majority (1,811) work in mine operations and administration.
It has been claimed that the expatriate workers and supervisors are being overly favoured by management in terms of salaries and other fringe benefits, while most of the local staff involved in underground mining operations are allegedly being grossly mistreated. The Tanzania Mines and Construction Workers Union (TAMICO) maintained the strike action was imminent because management had apparently ignored a previous agreement reached with the union leaders on October 17, this year.
Our initial plan was to strike on October 18, but management later said it had accepted most of our demands, including providing medical cover to the workers, said TAMICO branch secretary Merchadis Kajungu. The union leader said the workers agreed to call off the strike after management promised to pay for medical care for the workers, some of whom required referral health services at Bugando Hopital in Mwanza or Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam.
We agreed that implementation of the (medical cover) would start immediately. Many workers were suffering from the effects of 12-hour work shifts with heavy machinery every day, and poor working conditions including lack of transport for workers to and from their homes, Kajungu said.
The workers accused the mine management of discriminating locals against expatriates and cited the area of medical treatment, where it is claimed that whereas expatriates are often airlifted abroad for treatment, local staff are not even helped to go to local referral hospitals. Said Kajungu: Currently we have one local staff who needs a hip replacement, but management has advised him to stay put and use just pain-killers until such time as it becomes very necessary to have surgery. This is outrageous.
Other bones of contention include perceived discrimination in on-mine accommodation, education facilities, transport services, salary scales and bonus payments between expatriate staff and Tanzanian employees.
The previous general manager, Mike Mracek, was more responsive to our needs compared with the new GM (Walker), said the TAMICO branch chairman at Bulyanhulu, George Mandia, in a statement to the mine management which also gave notice for the planned strike action.
It remains to be seen if the mine workers will actually down their tools today or return to the negotiating table with management. By the end of this year, the giant mines total gold exports are expected to reach $1bn (approx. 1.3tr/-), plus copper valued at over $100m (approx. 130bn/-) and about $10.5m (approx. 13.7bn/-) worth of silver.
Also by year-end, the mine is expected to have generated various taxes amounting to $120m (approx. 156bn/-), in the form of royalty, payroll salaries, pay as you earn (PAYE), levies, withholding tax and duties, NSSF/PPF and several more.
jamani hiyo kweli ni haki kwa wageni kuja kutufanyia hivi nchini mwetuu?je ni familia ngapi zimeingia in to crisis ya ki uchumi kwa mpigo due to that act?
cant serikali yetu do anything to stop this if its true?