Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
ANTI-RIOT police were on Wednesday called to restore order at Turk Mine in Bubi District where wives of the striking workers became violent as they barred their husbands from returning to work before receiving salaries.
The miners are owed three months salaries and on Monday laid down their tools in protest.
Some of the miners together with their wives are said to have turned violent after the mine’s management accused them of conducting an illegal strike.
“They started pelting managers with stones. They accused management of being insensitive by telling them that their strike was illegal.
That’s what led to the police being called to quell the violence,” said a source who declined to be named.
He said fearing for their lives, the mine’s managers called police to disperse the workers and their wives.
The source said as a result, running battles between the police and workers ensued leading to the police firing teargas.
A miner who to spoke to The Chronicle said it was senseless for the company to call police on them instead of paying their dues.
“We’re being repressed for demanding what is ours. The company wants to adopt a colonial stance where workers were not allowed to express their views. We are made to escape from the police instead of being engaged on our salaries. We’ve families to feed but the company wants to pretend all is good,” said one of the employees.
The wives of the miners who joined the protest on Monday said they were considering denying their husbands sex to pressurise them to demand their dues from their employer.
The company’s chief executive officer, Mr Jackson Murehwa, said the company called the police as wives of the employees had become aggressive.
“We advised the police of the illegal gathering of women by the mine gate who were denying employees’ access into the plant. The police came to provide security to employees wishing to go to work but were being threatened by the women,” said Mr Murehwa.
“The women and some of the workers participating in the illegal gathering were violent to the extent of damaging some property and injuring other people.”
He said the company would institute disciplinary action on some of the workers who participated in the violent protests.
Matabeleland North provincial police spokesperson Inspector Siphiwe Makonese referred questions to the national police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba who said the matter had not reached her office.