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‘Ministers task team to tackle mines crisis’

GOVERNMENT will today dispatch five Cabinet ministers to the Copperbelt to help resolve the impending job losses in the mines that are downsizing due to low copper prices on the international market and challenges of electricity power supply.
Chief government spokesman Chishimba Kambwili told a post-Cabinet press briefing at State House yesterday that a meeting will be held between mine owners, trade unions and Government.
The Cabinet team comprises Minister of Finance Alexander Chikwanda, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Margaret Mwanakatwe, Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda, Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Christopher Yaluma and Mr Kambwili, who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services.
Mr Kambwili, who read out the decisions made by Cabinet at its 21st meeting, held on Monday, assured mineworkers that no unnecessary job losses will be entertained.
“Government is working hard to ensure that an amicable solution is found to keep possible job losses to a bare minimum,” he said.
He said if Government is convinced that there is need to cut jobs, then it will weigh all possible means to benefit the workers.
Mr Kambwili suggested that mine owners should consider laying off expatriates who are earning colossal amounts of money and also look at the option of voluntary separation.
He said Zesco is not load-shedding mines and this means that investors are still making profits unlike what they are demanding.
Mr Kambwili said Government has a duty to protect workers and urged mine owners to appreciate that businesses are prone to fluctuations in as far as making profit is concerned.
He assured miners at China Nonferrous Metal Mining Corporation Luanshya Copper Mines (CLM) that no one will lose their job.
Mr Kambwili said owners of the mine should follow procedures when seeking job cuts.
He also said Cabinet approved the Employment [Amendment) Bill, 2015, for publication and introduction in Parliament during the current sitting.
Mr Kambwili said the piece of legislation will, among others, revise the provisions on registration of employment agencies and prohibit casualisation.
He also said Cabinet has approved “The Gender Equity and Equality Bill, 2015, for presentation to Parliament during the current sitting.
Mr Kambwili said this legislation will provide for the establishment of the Gender Equity and Equality Commission and provide for its functions and powers.
He also said cabinet meeting noted the information from President Lungu to the effect that considerable progress has been made in the implementation of the human resource management reforms aimed at creating a public service human resources management system.
Mr Kambwili said this would be anchored on principles and values that promote efficiency, effectiveness and quality delivery of services for national development.

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