More than 1,500 workers of Anjin Investments, a Chinese company mining diamonds in Zimbabwe’s Manicaland Province, have received letters of suspension for engaging in a crippling strike demanding higher salaries and improved working conditions.
Members of the workers’ committee told VOA Studio 7 Monday they are being punished for demanding at least $650 for the lowest paid worker instead of the paltry $235 they are currently getting a month.
They said Anjin, one of the largest diamond companies operating in Marange, wants to fire 500 employees after dismissing seven members of the workers’ committee recently for being part of the industrial action.
Some of the male workers, the workers claimed, have been sodomized by three managers who have since written an apology to the workers’ committee.
“We were told that these managers will be deported but apparently sodomy cases are on the rise while these top managers are still at work,” said one of the workers.
Another employee who refused to be named, said a recent High Court ruling that said the strike was illegal has worsened their plight.
There was no immediate comment from Anjin Investments management which recently applied to government for permission to operate domestic flights in Zimbabwe.
The company, with extensive ties to the country’s military, is being accused by treasury of failing to adequately account for Marange diamond proceeds.
Anjin is claiming that it has remitted $30 million in diamond taxes to the government since last September.
A recent report by Global Witness alleges that the company has strong ties with the military with half of its shares held by Zimbabwean military lawyer Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa.