A mineworker works at the rock face at the Impala Platinum mine in Rustenburg, South Africa, on Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd is the world's second-biggest platinum producer. Photographer: Nadine Hutton/Bloomberg News

Harare - Zimbabwean mining houses have struck a deal with unions to prevent a potentially bitter fall-out that would have disrupted operations in the country.

They reached a 1.5 percent agreement against the unions’ demand for a 10 percent raise.

“Mineworkers have concerns… when they are labouring they expect to be paid,” said Tinago Ruzive, the president of the Associated Mineworkers Union of Zimbabwe.

Isaac Kwesu, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines chief executive, said the industry was struggling and would “at the very best maintain production levels” recorded last year.

Negotiations were difficult because the miners complained that the economy is tight and they could not afford any salary raise…” said a chamber’s official.