As Rwanda celebrates the International Labor Day, the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) commends the Government for the changes it has made in the development of the mining sector but also points out that the lack of minimum wage is one of the main challenges facing the workers.
On the other hand REWU urges employers and employees to promote dialogues as they can yield solutions to the challenges that may be caused by the lack of minimum salary and low salaries compared to current situations on the market.
Minimum wage is the minimum amount of remuneration that an employer is required to pay wage earners for the work performed during a given period, which cannot be reduced by collective agreement or individual contract, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
However, Mining workers are suffering from the effects of lack of the minimum wage because they get paid based on the mineral productivity while they are likely to work for a certain period of time and yet are not able to get the minerals despite hours spend underground searching for the minerals.
In addition, REWU mentions that “We are celebrating the International Labor Day while there are still issues related to low wages in general which will have a significant impact on workers’ productivity.”
Due to rising cost of living, REWU requests employers in the mining and extractive Industry to increase Workers’ salaries, as well as a remuneration per kilogram (kg), so that mining workers can sustain and meet the basic needs of their families.
REWU continues to urge employers to provide their employees with a written employment contract, retirement benefits and occupational safety, and also to be paid via the bank accounts instead of paying them in hand. This right should be granted to all miners, rather than to some as it stands now;
The statement also reminds employers to comply with the provisions of the Labour Code, and in particular to promote a good work ethic in the company as the best solution rather than illegal sacking of employees.
Also employers are urged to provide job training to their employees, as it increases the ability of the employee to become more productive in the company and thus plays an important role in development of the companies they serve.
In particular, REWU welcomes the leadership of Rwanda in the development of professional mining and the prevention of occupational accidents.
REWU acknowledges the Rwanda Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), employers and partners for initiating various activities including the introduction of ECDs in mining companies where they will continuously help women in the mining profession and at the same time ensuring the protection of children’s rights.