“The Chinese seem to have immunity to prosecution and arrest” claims Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Union General Secretary, Nicholas Mazarura.
Union workers, who complained after an employee was assaulted and left bleeding by a Chinese manager at a building site in Highfield, were allegedly told by police that they had instructions not to arrest the Chinese who are “friends of the country”.
“The Chinese bosses accuse us of being lazy, that we do not want to work for our country. But we are forced to work 8 hours during the day plus 6 hours in the evening even if officially they are complying with the Zimbabwean law which contemplates a work day of 8 hours”, Peter Dube, employed by a company owned by the Chinese Defence Forces and the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, told Equal Times.
According to union officials, workers are only provided with tennis shoes to protect their feet, despite working with metals and cement; and gloves, masks and helmets are frequently not provided at all.
“When we accuse them they always say that Zimbabweans must work even for nothing, simply because the Chinese are using their equipment and money to help rebuild Zimbabwe, so they are not supposed to spend on ‘luxuries’ like safety clothing”.