By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
GOVERNMENT has asked Kansanshi Mine management and other mining companies not to act on their intentions to shed of labour.
Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda said the mines should hold on until discussions between Government and the mining companies over operational challenges.
Mr Shamenda made the plea to Kansanshi when he held a meeting with the Chamber of Mines in Zambia at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) central offices in Kitwe yesterday.
The minister’s plea comes in the wake of reports on one of the on-line publications that Kansanshi was today scheduled to lay off some workers.
Kansanshi Mine public relations manager Godfrey Msiska when contacted said it was a contractor that was shedding off workers and not Kansanshi.
But Mr Shamenda said Government was concerned that while the process of engagement with the relevant stakeholders was on-going, some mining companies were already shedding off workers.
“The plea is that those redundancies hold on until we discuss and see how we can mitigate the factors,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said the meeting with the Chamber of Mines in Zambia had been necessitated by the recent uncertainties in the mining sector involving the mineral royalty tax regime which had caused some mining companies to take the route of job-cuts.
As Labour Minister, he was concerned that distortions in the number of workers had serious impact on the treasury whose major source of income is pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) from employees.
“Any distortion of employment has serious impact on the contribution to the economy and this is why we don’t want to see any job-cuts,” he said.
Mr Shamenda was particularly concerned about the continued outsourcing of labour in the mining industry.
Outsourcing is one of the few lapses Government had noted in the mining industry which at some stage required a resolve to bring it to an end.
He said outsourcing in areas of cleaning and security could be allowed but not the core-business of mining.
Chamber of Mines chief executive officer Maureen Dlamini was happy with Government’s approach of engaging the mining companies, saying dialogue is always a better route to take when resolving matters.
Almost all the major mining companies including Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) led by chief executive officer Steven Din were represented in the meeting that lasted from about 10:30 hours until lunch.
Earlier, Mr Shamenda paid a courtesy call on the acting District Commissioner Chikafuna Banda before proceeding to the head offices of Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) where he had an interaction with the union’s national leadership.
Ministry of Mines Permanent Secretary Trevor Kaunda and other senior labour officials accompanied the minister.