By MAYA NTANDA –
THE mine unions and First Quantum Minerals Limited (FQML) have been summoned to Lusaka to meet with Government over the controversial collective agreement that has been disputed by some members of the unions.
FQML has awarded its unionised workers a cumulative 25 per cent salary increment broken into three with the initial being 10 per cent and followed by eight and seven per cent increment respectively.
The National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and FQML management signed the collective agreement recently but the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) however rejected it causing an impasse among the stakeholders.
MUZ president Nkole Chishimba said Government had directed all concerned parties to meet in Lusaka this week with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the issue.
Mr Chishimba said at a press briefing at Katilungu House in Kitwe yesterday that MUZ refused to sign the collective agreement on account of its difference of opinion on the tenure of agreement.
“MUZ is in receipt of a copy of the letter from the Government urging FQML not to implement the said agreement and all concerned parties have been directed to go and meet with Government in Lusaka on Thursday with the aim of finding a lasting solution to the issue.
“I wish to assure our members that the recognition agreement between the MUZ and FQML is still in force and their right to be represented still stands intact,” he said.
Mr Chishimba, who was giving an update on the state of the collective agreement at FQM, explained that MUZ was not opposed to all other aspects of the agreement except the three year tenure, which the union felt should be 12 months as was the case always.
He said FQML reacted to the stance taken by MUZ by excluding it from signing the agreement and went ahead to sign with NUMAW only.
Mr Chishimba said MUZ communicated that position to the Labour Commissioner who in turn responded by refusing to recognise the collective agreement because it was not supported by consensus.
He further said the relationship between the union and FQML management was hostile and that the company had described the stance taken by MUZ, as baseless.
He, however, praised Government for working in the interest of the miners as this exhibited good