RIOTING miners in Chingola yesterday damaged Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) property worth thousands of Kwacha demanding better salaries and conditions of service.
Police fired teargas canisters in a bid to disperse the aggrieved workers who work for various contractors engaged by KCM.
Armed with stones and other weapons, the group stormed the KCM residential flats around 07:00 hours leaving a trail of destruction to property after intervention by police in riot attire.
The enraged workers, who also demanded to be employed on a permanent basis, vented their anger by damaging vehicles and causing extensive damage to the flats.
By press time Copperbelt Police Commissioner Joyce Kasosa who confirmed the protest said she was still awaiting a full report on the incident.
A check around 10:00 hours found that a block of eight flats and six vehicles had their windows smashed and brought down the perimeter fence around the premises.
KCM manager for public relations and communications Shapi Shachinda and Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) general secretary Joseph Chewe confirmed the protest in separate interviews.
Mr Shachinda said the protest was triggered over pay related issues.
“Unfortunately, KCM has been involved in this dispute despite the company fully meeting all of its obligations. Zambia Police have launched their own investigations into the incident and are working closely with KCM to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
Mr Chewe said the protest by the miners first started in the morning around 05:00 hours when they downed tools at the plant and proceeded to assemble at the KCM flats with intent to protest.
“As MUZ we are very concerned especially that the Government has maintained its position that it is not going to nationalise the mines but instead encouraging mining houses and KCM in particular to normalise their operations.
“Our concern now is that such actions affect production levels because when contractors protest, the impact is felt by everyone including us MUZ,” Mr Chewe said.