A cash strapped coal mining company in Zimbabwe has reportedly agreed to pay its workers’ salary arrears after the miners’ wives staged a four months long protest.
According to News Deeply, and online platform for women’s rights, Hwange Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) – a company partly owned by government – brokered the deal with the women after months of tense protests outside the mining company’s offices.
HCCL’s workers had not been paid their full salaries since 2013. As a result, hundreds of women had to find work “just to keep their children fed”.
After months of protests and negotiations, the company agreed to back pay its employees and also rolled out a vocational skills training programme to assist the women with various self-help projects, such as pig and poultry farming and sewing, to help them support their families.
This deal was brokered after the women who were leading the protests agreed to withdraw their $5,000 lump sum demands.
Recent reports indicated that the company had come up with a novel plan to pay its increasing debt and the salaries of its 2,000 employees dating back at least to five years.
According to New Zimbabwe.com, the HCCL board told parliament it was planning on selling the town of Hwange for a whopping $300 million to meet its debt obligations, including the payment of workers’ salaries.
HCCL said that it had an ‘obligation to pay at least $1.8m every month to workers who are owed $70m in salary arrears.’
The company revealed its plan when it appeared in parliament early May