December 8, 2020

More Thank 50,000 Mining Sector Workers Paid by Cash in Hand

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When the mining regulator visits the mines for announced tours, it finds miners well taken care of, with all the safety measures in place. Away from the cameras, conditions in the mines are problematic

A mining sector lobby group is asking government to impose a stringent regulatory framework that will help improve conditions of its members.

The Rwanda Extractives Workers Union (REWU) says more than 80 percent of people working in the mining sector have no contracts with their employers.

According to the latest labour force survey by the National Institute of Statistics (NISR), the mining and quarrying sector employs 67,735 people – operating at different levels from the mine shafts, up to executives.

There are a total of 300 mining companies regulated by the Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board. Its figures show the sector brought in $412m in 2019.

Mining union general secretary Mutsindashyaka André said that even for the few with employee contracts, most of them operate on short term contracts.

In many companies, said Mutsindashyaka to local media, workers have been with a particular firm but are only allowed to sign for three month contracts.

In other words, more than 53,000 people in the sector are paid by hand, and work at the mercy of executives who are earning billions of francs.

Currently, government data shows that the country exports four main types of minerals, including gold, cassiterite, coltan, and wolfram.

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