6 Jun 2024



(June  6 Commemorations)


6 JUNE 2024








The Zimbabwe   Congress of Trade Unions, joins the nation in commemorating our Day for Safety and Health at Work under the theme “Promoting work-life balance an occupational safety and health priority for All” 

We commemorate this day in remembrance of 427 miners who lost their lives in 1972, as a result of a methane gas explosion in Hwange Kamandama mine shaft number 2. This remains the worst workplace accident to date in this country hence it serves as a sad reminder on the importance of Occupational Safety and Health.

The disaster could have been avoided had the Mine invested in robust Occupational Safety and health Management Systems hence our theme this year seeks to amplify the importance of OSH management systems and foster the preventive culture.  

As we commemorate this event today, our clarion call to the government and captains of industry is that we need a holistic approach to eradicate workplace accidents. We continue to note disturbing accidents largely owing to employers’ disregard of workplace safety protocols and procedures. Chinese employers and the worst culprits in this regards and as we are gathered today we recorded a workplace fatality and several injuries when a Chinese shot at employees over a dispute. They are setting the wrong precedencies and their conduct in terms of violating OSH practices is becoming a menace. Clear examples of violation of workers’ rights in the mining sector have been witnessed at Redwing Mine where several fatalities were recorded last year. Prospect Lithium Mine and Bikita Minerals have also been in the limelight for various OSH violations ranging from inhuman ablution facilities, substandard accommodation to inadequate PPE.


Noting these violations and apparent laxity to hold the Chinese to account, we are calling on the Zimbabwe government to put in place strong institutional and legislative reforms to arrest OHS violations. We need capacitation of the Inspectorate department in the Ministry of Labour and intensification of workplace inspections by the National Social Security Authority inspectorate department.  Zimbabwe now needs to ratify ILO convention 187/2006 on the promotional framework for occupational safety and health and there is also urgent need to recognize and adopt the ILO governing body resolutions which seeks  to enhance application of international occupational health and safety standards and greater implementation of these rights in national legislation and practice; encourage greater recognition, as well as adherence, for the rights set out in the Conventions, such as the need to consult workers and union representatives, the right to refuse unsafe work, and also unlock increased resources for occupational health and safety; and  inclusion of OSH issues in trade agreements and multilateral arrangements.

In light of the emerging global challenges like climate change that are worsening the fight against OSH malpractices the world over we need to be better equipped to deal with multinational conglomerates and individual investors with a niche to compromise on OSH standards. Our members are exposed to the vagaries and climate change induced impacts whose cost employers are not generally willing to foot. Heatwaves, cyclones, droughts and wildfires directly affect the safety and health of workers. There are also biological impacts like the cancers, respiratory and muscular degeneration as well as mental health impacts associated with climate change that are weighing heavily on workers.

It is therefore our demand that stakeholders honestly work in unison to promote safety, health and wellness to keep everyone safe. It is only genuine and honest social dialogue that guarantees a reduction of work related accidents. Our fears are that employers are reluctant to accommodate their employees in social dialogue because they are concerned with pushing profits ahead of workers’ safety while for no tangible reasons government is also unwilling to fully adopt international standards.

Workers are now looking forward to the passing of the harmonized OSH Bill into law. It is our view that the passing of the bill is coming a bit too late given the violations happening particularly in the mining industry. We have workers working without PPE, living in terrible substandard accommodation while being provided with substandard unhealthy food rations. So the passing of the OSH bill would be a milestone achievement towards reduction of workplace accidents, fostering compliance from truant employers and restoration of workers’ wellness and dignity.  

Zimbabwean workers are concerned about the current statistics in occupational Safety and Health. According to figures from NSSA, the country recorded in excess of 4334 reported workplace accidents annually. Statistics for January to April 2024 indicate 846 injuries and 9 fatalities across sectors. Mining and quarrying sector recorded 93 injuries while the Personal Services sectors topped with 146 injuries. The figures are not impressive at all but we are cognizant of the fact that these statistics are not comprehensive as some accidents go unreported while accidents obtaining within the informal economy generally go unnoticed. Such discrepancies hinder our efforts towards effective implementation of comprehensive occupational safety and health management systems.

Our demands are still the same from last year and are as follows:-

  • Enactment of new legislation on OSH.
  • Ratification of ILO Convention 186 on 184 on Safety & health in agriculture and 189 on Domestic Workers. 
  • Creation of safe and healthy work environment in the Mining sector. 
  • Declaration of June 6, as a National Holiday.

As we mark 52 years of the Kamandama disaster let us remember that the cost of negligence lasts a lifetime and is irreparable. Today we have families and widows who are suffering in poverty without adequate support from the employer.

I implore upon our social partners to show genuine commitment towards eradicating workplace accidents as we did when we developed the National Safety and Health Policy in 2014. We need to utilize all engagement spaces including the TNF in championing OSH issues towards the zero accident policy. One accident is too many and a single death from a workplace accident is one too many.

Let me conclude by reminding you all that safety is everyone’s responsibility. Play your part and I play my part to make the workplace safer.

I thank you



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