News

Lungu moves to save MCM jobs

HONE SIAME & NKOMBO KACHEMBA, Kitwe
PRESIDENT Lungu will today meet management of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) and mineworkers’ unions in his bid to save jobs of 3,500 miners who are facing retrenchment, as the mining giant struggles to maintain operations.
And President Lungu has given 10 percent Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) shares in Chinese-owned firm, Nkana Alloy and Smelting Company, the owners of the copper slug dump site commonly known as the ‘Black Mountain’, to the youths in Kitwe.
Special assistant to the President for press and public relations Amos Chanda said at a press briefing at Presidential Guest House in Kitwe yesterday that President Lungu will not endorse any job cuts that have not been agreed upon by the trade unions in the mining sector.
Mr Chanda said the President will also meet management at Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) tomorrow in Luanshya, which has been placed under care and maintenance, to address the stand-off between management and employees.
MCM recently wrote to Government over its plans to lay off over 3,800 workers while LCM has sent its 1,600 Zambian employees on forced leave in view of the slump in copper prices and power deficit problems.
“Let me emphasise that the President is very clear that he is not endorsing any job cuts that have not been agreed upon with the trade unions. If it comes to that, the job losses should occur because of certain factors in the industry, that can only be agreed upon once the laid down procedures have been followed and that there is an agreement with the unions.
“So, the unions should take the lead in making sure they follow the procedure that any decisions reached are agreed upon with them,” Mr Chanda said after President Lungu’s closed-door meeting with leaders of four mine unions.
He said the Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) also made some proposals on the need for Government to make some adjustments to the mineral royalty tax and regarding the issue of value added tax (VAT).
Mr Chanda said there is need for the mining houses to respect the collective agreement signed with the unions and also to conduct their businesses in accordance with the Zambian laws.
And MUZ president Nkole Chishimba described the meeting the union leaders had with President Lungu as fruitful and commended the head of State for finding time to attend to the problems that have affected the mining sector.
Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation president Tom Yungána pleaded with Government to also protect the jobs of nurses working in health institutions which are run by MCM and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
KCM has also put 145 employees on recess.
Meanwhile, United Mines Union of Zambia president Wisdom Ngwira has commended Mr Lungu for responding to the cries of the unions on the need to safeguard the jobs in the mining sector.
National Union of Mines and Allied Workers president James Chansa said the mines unions will not allow job cuts in the sector and commended President Lungu for meeting the union officials.


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