Zimbabwe's National Employment Council for the Construction Industry says Chinese firms operating in the country continue to flout the country’s labor laws, underpaying employees and at times beating up workers demanding better pay.
The organization’s general secretary Dzokamushure Taruvinga told parliament Monday that they had received several reports abuse reports, including the failure by Chinese contractors to pay the minimum monthly wage of $240. They are also accused of issuing payslips in the Chinese language.
According to Newsday, Taruvinga claimed that some of the Chinese employers usually resort to physically abusing workers whenever they fail to reach agreements on issues like salary increases.
Sometimes the Chinese contractors pretend they do not understand English when engaging in disputes affecting workers, demanding the employees bring competent translators from china.
Chinese contractors have also been accused in various countries like Zambia for flouting labor laws in order to make maximum profits from various projects.
Labor expert Davies Ndumiso Sibanda said Zimbabwe should ensure that Chinese contractors take some lessons in labor laws before being allowed to run businesses in the country.
“The other issue is that employment councils have not been able to rise to the challenge as the Chinese are unique employers with a working culture totally different from the way Zimbabweans view relations between workers and employers,” said Sibanda.
President Lovemore Matombo of the breakaway faction of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the tripartite negotiating forum, which brings together government, labor and employers, should tackle this issue which he said cannot be allowed to continue.