A lot of workers in the mining industry have asked this Question. Why is ZDAMWU not represented at the NEC?
Our simple answer to this question is:
The NEC was established as a voluntary organisation by two parties the Chamber of Mines and the Associated Mine Workers Union of Zimbabwe way back in the 80s.
At law it came into being in terms of Section 56 of the Labour Act as a Voluntary NEC.
So according to the law, for ZDAMWU to be admitted into the NEC, the other union AMWUZ has to agree so that we work together and combine our efforts in fighting for better working conditions for workers rather than it monopolising the struggle as is the current state of affairs.
We have approached AMWUZ to seek their concent so that our union will be able to sit in the NEC to fight together for better working conditions for mine workers countywide but it seems they are reluctant to see this happening. It is sad and very unfortunate that AMWUZ might see ZDAMWU
as a competitor yet we see them as comrades in arms fighting together for one common cause. What we would like to advise all mine workers across the country is that as long as we continue to have one union sitting in the NEC, our situation will never improve because AMWUZ can not, on it’s own, stand against the powerful Chamber of Mines in negotiations. There is need for AMWUZ to start realising that a union such as ZDAMWU is there to better the lives of mine workers and not to compete for membership as is widely believed.
Put it simply, ZDAMWU is there to compliment the efforts by AMWUZ in achieving a win-win situation for mine workers in Zimbabwe.
In any case, there are thousands of workers who have left AMWUZ for various reasons while others are ununionised. These workers need representation by joining a union of their choice. No union can ever have 💯 percent membership in the mine industry. Never.
This is the reason why as ZDAMWU we have never castigated or decampaigned any union because we feel workers should make their choice on the basis of the effectiveness of that union.
There are other proggresive NECs such as that of the Energy sector which admitted two other unions to make them three the number of unions now sitting in the National Employment Council for the Energy Industry. This is despite the fact that their NEC was formed in 1987 by the Zimbabwe Energy Workers Union and their employer counterparts then. The results of this has been robust negotiations leading to more achievements for workers in the energy sector.
The NEC for the food industry has admitted several unions.
This is what we envigise to see happening in the mine industry.
However, as ZDAMWU, we will continue to engage our colleagues with a view of combining our efforts at the NEC level whilst we await for the much anticipated Labour Ammendment Bill which seeks to allow all registered unions to be party of their respective the NECs.
ZDAMWU fought and played a significant role in the molding of this Labour Amendment Bill which will see the inclusion of more unions to be admitted NECs among other proggresive reforms. The union’s General Secretary, Justice Chinhema was part of the technical committee which worked tirelessly during the process.
Definitely the much awaited ammended Labour Act is coming sooner than later and when this happens, we will not need the concent of anyone for us to participate at the NEC.