As Rwanda celebrates International Mining Day on December 04, 2020, the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers’ Union (REWU) has requested Mining employers to provide contracts to mining workers as stipulated in the provisions of the Labour law.
The General Secretary of REWU, Eng. Andre Mutsindashyaka, highlighted that a number of achievements have been made in the development of the Mining sector but there are still some issues, including employers who do not value the work done by miners.
REWU Secretary General said that there are many challenges that are hindering advancement of the mining profession, hence more interventions are still needed to resolve them.
According to Mutsindashyaka, there are so many miners who do not have employment contracts including miners employed by the sub-contractors, which affects their livelihoods and families’ wellbeing as well.
He said that “you find an employee who has been in the company for three or more years without employment contract. Such workers cannot even get an advance loan of salary from the financial institution because the bank will not rely on an employee who has not an employment contract.”
He further added that some of the mining companies do not affiliates their employees to the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) like pension contribution which is the worst challenge to the future of mining workers once they are old.
“Many employees are paid in hand instead of being paid through financial institutions; which is also a serious obstacle”, Mutsindashyaka said
“On top of that, there are still miners who work but they are not paid for their work, under pretext that they have not found the minerals or production, while they have used their energies into the tunnels”, he added.
“This is affecting their families, especially for those who have children; they are likely to suffer from malnutrition”, Mutsindashyaka explains, adding that there should be a minimum wage for every employee of the mining industry.
Other issues raised by the union include the existence of mining accidents that are life-threatening, sometimes this is due to the lack of training on the health and safety of workers. Finally, he mentioned another issue of the employees who are fired in violation of labor laws among others.
“Our Union is urging the Government authorities to request the employers to resolve all the issues facing the workers in this sector as it is one of the contributions that will improve the working conditions as well as production increment”, Mutsindashyaka noted.
The Union also urges the Ministry of Public Services and Labour (MIFOTRA) as in its mandate there is also to set a minimum wage that should be paid to mining workers, so that the problem of workers who are not paid as said above can be completely solved.
However, as the miners point out these issues, the union encourages mining workers to continue to work hard to increase productivity in order to fill the gap brought by COVID 19 pandemic on the national economy.
Rwanyange Rene Anthere