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Copperbelt permsec cautions cement company over insults

CHISHALA MUSONDA, Ndola
COPPERBELT permanent secretary Howard Sikwela has counselled management at Zambezi Portland Cement Plc in Ndola to treat workers humanely.
Speaking when he addressed management and union officials at ZPC on Thursday, Reverend Sikwela said Government will not condone mistreatment of workers at places of work.
“Let us respect one another. Tell your directors, insults no. Government will not entertain such. Issuing of insults must come to an end. We should not treat employees as second-class citizens,” Rev Sikwela.
Rev Sikwela issued the warning after Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) branch officials complained that some of their directors were allegedly abusive.
MUZ chapel chairman Robert Lifika and his UMUZ counterpart Jolly Simukonda, complained to the permanent secretary about alleged derogatory remarks by some directors.
The union officials also complained of alleged intimidation and harassment by bodybuilders who have been hired to keep vigil at the manufacturing plant.
ZPC executive director Gomeli Litana assured Rev Sikwela that the concern about derogatory remarks has been addressed internally.
“We had a meeting over the insults with the directors and also about the issue of bodybuilders. Those musclemen are here to just watch and not search or intimidate anyone,” Mr Litana said.
But Ndola district commissioner Rebby Chanda said there is no need for companies to hire musclemen when state police are there to provide security.
He Sikwela said this in response to a report of alleged protests by workers at the company over delayed salaries.
Meanwhile Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Yang Youming has called on companies from his country operating in Zambia to adhere to labour laws.
Mr Yang said he will ensure that all Chinese firms operating in Zambia obey the country’s labour laws.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Copperbelt Minister Mwenya Musenge in Ndola on Thursday, he also pointed out that bilateral relations between Zambia and China have grown stronger as the two countries have been collaborating closely in areas of mutual interest.
Mr Yang, who is also special representative of China to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), said there are about 600 Chinese companies operating in different sectors of the Zambia economy and that there are about 2,000 Zambians studying in China.
Mr Musenge thanked China for the investment in Zambia’s economy, especially in mining and construction.

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