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Don’t politicise job losses, opposition told

ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
GOVERNMENT has advised opposition leaders against politicising the job losses in the mining sector because the lay-offs have been caused by low commodity prices on the international market, which have affected all copper-producing countries.
Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Christopher Yaluma said Government does not agree with the retrenchment of miners at some mining companies on the Copperbelt.
“We will never be at peace with the retrenchment of some miners because our campaigns were based on job creation and it is on this premise that President Lungu took the initiative to dialogue with mine owners and unions to minimise job losses,” he said.
The minister said in an interview yesterday that Government has been forced to accept minimal job losses to avoid closure of the mines because investors are incurring losses as a result of the low copper price on the international market and the energy deficit.
Mr Yaluma said Government has little influence on the low price of copper and that people should be able to understand such issues.
He said Government closely scrutinises mine owners who advocate massive retrenchments when they recorded profits last year at a time the copper price was high.
Mr Yaluma said the low copper price on the international market has not only affected Zambia but all the copper-producing countries worldwide.
Mr Yaluma said President Lungu’s administration should be commended on measures it has put in place to minimise job losses in the mines.
And minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda has urged opposition leaders to offer solutions over job losses in the mining sector.
Mr Shamenda said in a separate interview that the PF government should not be blamed for the low copper price on the international market.
“Those who are criticising Government concerning job losses on the mines should consider giving solutions to avert more job losses on the mines if they have any,” he said.
He said those with solutions to the job losses in the mining sector should go to his office and share them for a better Zambia.
Mr Shamenda said critics should know that the job losses would have been worse if Government had not intervened.
He said the finances that some opposition political parties are using for politicking could be used for development programmes.
Mr Shamenda said mine closures have been the order of the day in other countries facing similar challenges but that this has not happened in Zambia.


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