500 Miners Lose Jobs

MORE than 500 miners have been laid off by a company contracted by Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi.

Chantete Mining Services has given notice of termination to the affected miners, whose last day of work is July 16, 2014.

But Labour and Social Security deputy minister Rayford Mbulu said the firm should have notified Government on the intention to lay off workers 60 days before effecting the move.

The decision to layoff miners follows the decision by Kansanshi Mine to terminate the contract with Chantete Mining Services.

Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) general secretary Joseph Chewe confirmed the development in Kitwe yesterday while Kansanshi Public Relations Manager Godfrey Msiska promised to get back to this reporter at a later stage.

Mr Chewe described the layoff as unfortunate and a setback to the growth of the mining industry.

“Kansanshi Mine has terminated the contract for Chantete and as a result of this, the firm has laid-off over 500 employees who have already been served with notice of termination of

contracts,” Mr Chewe said.

He said this was the reason the union had been aocating for an end to contract labour particularly in the mining industry.

Mr Chewe said many more contract employees at Kansanshi would lose jobs as the mining-giant had terminated contracts for other firms that were providing services such as cleaning.

“So we are talking of contract employees in the range of over 1, 500 that are being laid-off at Kansanshi Mine,” Mr Chewe said.

He appealed to Government to seriously address the issue of contract jobs in the mining industry because people engaged under such an arrangement could not be guaranteed of job security.

“We consider it a mockery for some mining firms to be even boasting of having 7, 000 direct employees when they have over 11, 000 contract employees,” he said.

In a separate interview yesterday, Mr Mbulu said Government would investigate the layoff of the 500 workers because it prioritised job creation.

“This office will follow up the matter with the Labour Commissioner and inspectorate to ensure that the correct procedure was followed because Government prioritises the creation of decent jobs,” Mr Mbulu said.

He said prior to any job layoff, the employers should inform all stakeholders at least 60 days in aance, giving convincing reasons for the action.

Mr Mbulu said Government would ensure that the workers did not go away empty handed if they were not reinstated.

First Quantum Minerals (FQM) has 80 per cent shares in Kansanshi Mine while the remaining 20 per cent is owned by Government through ZCCM-IH. The mine is located approximately 10 kilometres north of Solwezi.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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