Minister of Labour Joyce Nonde-Simukoko says the employee transfers at Konkola Copper Mines are illegal.
And Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga says as far as government is concerned, KCM agreed to reverse all transfers.
KCM has gone ahead to outsource its operations and outplace workers to contractors, defying opposition from unions and Minister of Mines Christopher Yaluma.
The mine says President Edgar Lungu and Vedanta Resources chairman Anil Argawal discussed the matter.
But at a media briefing in Lusaka today, Nonde-Simukoko said the transfers were illegal.
“I think the issue here is that as far as the Ministry of Labour is concerned, the negotiations are still ongoing and no conclusions have been made. Because if any agreements have been made, I expect management and the unions to send me a signed copy of the collective agreement or dispute. None of those documents have reached my office so as far as the Ministry of Labour is concerned; the negotiations are on-going. That is what is on the ground. However, I still emphasise, if what we are hearing is correct that KCM has already made these transfers is correct, those transfers are illegal. If what we are hearing, because I haven’t gotten official notification, that transfer is illegal,” she said.
She also said any outsourcing without a certificate which adheres to the Employment Act was illegal.
“They (KCM) came for consultation and we guided; I was with my labour commissioner [Chanda Kaziya]. So, KCM must respect the law; I urge the two parties to go back on the table, agree or agree to disagree. If there is outsourcing anywhere, we’ll be going round and where the agency has no certificate attested by the Ministry of Labour, any kind of that outsourcing is also illegal and I don’t think we have any agencies in the Ministry of Labour who have brought to be agents. Ministry of Labour has to have the names of where they (KCM) are outsourcing and we’ll see whether those people have certificates. So, we expect KCM to follow the law and do what is correct; there is no jungle law here! We don’t even know as Ministry of Labour who they are outsourcing to. So, whatever they are doing is illegal and they are educated people; I don’t expect them to give us problems,” said Nonde-Simukoko.
And at the same briefing, Mulenga said as far as government was concerned, KCM had reversed all transfers.
“However, as the Minister of Mines, Hon. Christopher Yaluma put it, KCM were told to reverse the transfer of 4,000 employees before concluding negotiations with the unions. As far as Government is concerned, KCM agreed to abide by the directive to reverse all the transfers that it had already made before discussions with the unions.
Of course outsourcing is not illegal but KCM can only outsource if the contractor has an employment licence and abides by the provisions of section 56 of the Employment Amendment Act No. 15 of 2015 which deals with employment agency permits and this can only be done after negotiations between management and the unions. So KCM are hereby reminded again to stop those transfers if they have started effecting them before conclusion of discussions and we urge both parties to sit and negotiate matters that relate to outsourcing,” said Mulenga.