..Lungu unhappy with mining companies threatening labour cuts
December 20, 2018
GOVERNMENT is determined to secure the interest of Zambians first even as it creates an enabling environment for the mining sector to flourish, President Edgar Lungu has said.
Recently, Kalumbila Copper Mine in North Western Province informed the Government of its plan to lay off more than 1, 000 workers due to the new mining tax regime.
President Lungu said the Government would carry out an extensive review of the rationale behind the mines resorting to cutting labour whenever policies are initiated to share the benefits in the mining sector.
President Lungu said this in Livingstone yesterday in a speech read for him by acting President Inonge Wina at the official opening of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)’s 15th quadrennial congress.
“I wish to remind the mines that Government has the responsibility of considering national interest first and creating a favourable business environment before making decisions that may negatively impact on the lives of citizens.
“In this regard, my Government will carry out an extensive review of the rationale behind the mines resorting to reduction in work force whenever Government initiates policy for the Zambian people to benefit from the mining sector,” he said.
Mr Lungu also called on well-meaning investors to take into consideration national interest as they considered their business interests.
He said the Government took great concern with the austerity measures that some mines were embarking on and were seemingly being implemented unilaterally.
He said such measures were at times meant to coerce the Government into reconsidering the position of the progressive adjustment of Zambian mining tax regimes contained in the National Budget speech of September 28, this year.
Mr Lungu said the Government was working consistently to expand basic services that improve the quality of life for citizens, including the poor and the working class.
He urged the attendants to reflect on the pace and quality of the implementation of national development programmes.
Mr Lungu said the discussions at the conference should aim at restoring the core values and principles of society which were unity, selflessness, sacrifice, collective leadership, humility, honesty, discipline, hard work and mutual respect.
He noted that the delay in finalising the revision of the current labour laws had raised concern amongst labour leaders.
Labour and Social Security Minister Joyce Simukoko urged trade unions to work closely with the Government to improve the welfare of workers.
She said the new labour law reforms were expected to be tabled in the next sitting of Parliament.
Outgoing ZCTU president Chishimba Nkole claimed that the current Government had moved away from its promise of being a pro-poor going with the introduction of taxes which were allegedly suffocating the poor.
Mr Nkole appealed to the Government to expedite the exercise of revising redundancy laws to stop investors applying the tactics of blackmail whenever they want Government to act in their favour.