Rwanda Extractive industry Workers Union (REWU) continues its campaign to change the traditional way of working in mining Industry.
The mindset change will be among the leading factors that will enable Rwanda’s mining Industry to harvest $ 1.5 billion a year by 2024 as a target.
To achieve this, various measures, including professional mining will contribute towards an increased income from the Mining industry which is second among the country’s largest foreign exchange earnings.
Regarding professional development, employees in this profession should also be given due consideration and special attention so that they are involved in increasing productivity in their respective companies.
Mr. Mutsindashyaka Andre, the General Secretary of REWU revealed that since the creation of REWU in 2014, the mining industry has gone through various reforms which also touched the Employees and employers conducts in this growing industry.
He said that “employees should be honest in their responsibilities, take care of their safety and health at their workplaces, because when they do well, they increase productivity and make their employers consider their commitments which also play an influencing role during the time negotiations of Salaries ‘increment”.
For professional mining, REWU requests that:
1. Employers give written contracts to their employees, as it protects employees from constantly changing their workplaces due to lack of employment contracts.
2. Paying workers on a regular basis without emphasizing on how much production they have made, simply because a hired worker who extract minerals or digs stones in a quarry every day may end without reaching that production but that does not mean he has done nothing;
“The hired employee should be rewarded because he or she actually does the job, even if the minimum wage is yet to be fixed but this does not preclude the employee from being paid.” Mutsindashyaka explained.
3. Employers should include all employees in retirement and occupational insurances. Here miners should also be included in the insurance provided by the Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB).
4. Employees should receive their remuneration through banks or Saving and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), because this in turn contributes to better participation in the savings program which is still low among miners;
5. Workers should be given Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) due to the nature of this profession.
The REWU trade union is also campaigning for other reforms among them are:
1. Sensitizing mining workers to have health insurance (Mutuelle de sante) provided by RSSB or other health insurance;
2. Sensitizing mining workers to join the EJO HEZA savings scheme program.
3. Sensitizing mining workers and employers to prevent and fight against worst form child labour Among the other needs in the profession, is to facilitate miners to get Knowledge certification through training.
“This will make it possible for professional workers in the country to be certified in mining, so a short-term training course will be provided to increase their skills in the field.” Mutsindashyaka explains
He added that once the sector’s employment scheme is formalized, it will provide a lot of opportunities for those who want to enter the profession and possible creation of more jobs, since the infrastructure development sector around the country is increasing, which requires mining and extracted materials to be used in the construction of those infrastructures.
“So, there will be a need for more qualified workers to carry out mining and quarrying activities.” Mutsindashyaka concluded