Mbada Diamonds Cuts Salaries, 4 Executives Resign

mbada-diamondsHarare: Workers at Zimbabwe’s leading diamond producer, Mbada Diamonds, staged a sit-in last week after its management slashed their salaries by 50 percent, claiming there had been a massive decline in production.

The decision to reduce salaries also resulted in four senior managers tendering their resignations in protest. Workers told New Zimbabwe that they were also not happy with management’s decision not to remit their medical aid contributions. They also accused the company’s new CEO, Thomas Luciano, and human resources manager, Albert Zindi, of treating them inhumanely.

New Zimbabwe understands that those who resigned included Marvin Maseko, a civil engineer, Nobel Ndiweni, a metallurgist, Nobert Matarutse, the chief technical operator, and Jeane Makoni, the organization and development manager. The four argued that the decision to slash salaries was in violation of their employment contract.

“In as much as production has gone done the decision by management not to remit funds deducted from our salaries for medical aid shows that they don’t care about us,” said one of the workers. The 29 machine operators who staged a sit-in on Tuesday also threatened to resign if their grievances were not quickly addressed.

Mbada Diamonds is said to be going through a lean period with production having fallen drastically over the past few months. The company told workers that they would now work for only two weeks per month.

“This is not the Mbada Diamond that people knew. The government is not just telling the nation the correct position of diamond production at the moment,” said another worker. Problems at Mbada Diamonds began two months ago after a senior executive assistant to the chairman, Selina Zhuwarara, told workers through an email that due to “poor productivity, all salaries are to be halved with immediate effect.”

She said Mbada Diamonds would only review this position once there was an upturn in production. Mbada is a 50-50 venture between Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and New Reclamation Group’s Grandwell Holdings of South Africa. Mbada and ZMDC face U.S. sanctions.