Contract Labour in Mines Unsettles MUZ

The Mine-workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) has said mining companies should stop engaging labour on contracts because this is compromising the quality of jobs being created in the industry.

MUZ General Secretary Joseph Chewe said there was need for mining companies to cut down on contract jobs by employing more permanent staff.

Mr Chewe said in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that the high number of contract jobs in the mining industry was causing miners to lose out on the expected benefits from increased investment into the sector.

He said there was massive investment into the mining sector but that this was not translating into improved welfare for employees because of the tendency by companies to engage contract labour.

“Most of these workers who are engaged as contract labour are given poor conditions of service and they are denied opportunity to be represented by the union,” he said.

Mr Chewe said there was need for Government to seriously look into the issue of contract labour so that it could be minimised.

He said Government had been emphasising quality jobs and the only way to attain that was by ensuring companies, especially the mines, began to shift focus from contract labour to having permanent employees.

“We know that some mining companies have come up with some form of rules asking contractors to not pay their staff below a certain amount but this is something not easy to monitor.

“What is needed for now is to have a stakeholder engagement so that we can seriously look into the matter and see how best this can be addressed,” he said.

Mr Chewe said Government was doing well in attracting investment into the mining sector and what remained to be addressed was to ensure that investors in the sector stopped engaging contract labour.

Source : The Times of Zambia

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