By RABECCA CHIPANTA and MILDRED KATONGO –
LUANSHYA Copper Mine (LCM) workers’ sit-in protest yesterday entered day-two with Copperbelt Minister, Bowman Lusambo urging management to rescind its decision to suspend seven miners.
The seven miners were suspended on the first day of the protest on Monday following management’s decision not to increase their salaries this year.
Mr Lusambo said in order to harmonise the situation there was need for the suspended miners to be reinstated after they were served with letters on Monday evening.
Speaking when he visited the mine yesterday, Mr Lusambo said Government did not take pleasure in the continued work stoppages and he was optimistic that Labour Minister Joyce Nonde’s visit to the province today would help resolve the continuing stand-offs that had taken place in the mining industry.
He expressed disappointment that the company did not highlight the challenges being faced at the company that led to the sit-in protest during their earlier meeting.
“You assured me that all is well when you visited my office so I was shocked and disturbed by the demonstrations. You did not indicate to the workers that you had challenges but we are here to find a lasting solution to this problem. My first call is the seven suspensions letters to be withdrawn in order to harmonise the situation,” he said.
LCM Chief executive officer Wang Chunlai said the seven miners had already been served with suspension letters and that if the sit-in protest continued they would engage Government on the way forward.
Meanwhile the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) have engaged Luanshya Copper Mine (LCM) management to discuss the issues which led to workers staging a sit-in protest.
MUZ president Nkole Chishimba said the two unions were in talks with the LCM management and would release a report on the outcome of the meeting.
“Talks are on between the workers union representatives which are MUZ and NUMAW and the LCM management. When our members down tools; we engage management of that mining firm to discuss the issues raised by miners. Once the meeting is done we will give a report and assure our members,” he said.
NUMAW vice national secretary Stephen Mwaanga said the union was doing everything possible to ensure that workers go went back to work.