Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma has directed Konkola Copper Mine to reverse the transfer of 4,000 employees before conclusion of discussions between government, Mines, and the Mine Workers Union with immediate.
And Yaluma has asked mines to publish how much money in they were paying to the government for the sake of transparency.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lusaka today, Yaluma said government would only allow mines to outsource if the task was critical.
“KCM went ahead and transferred 4,000 employees. So I am just trying to redirect and instruct KCM right now to (a) stop whatever transfers they have made so far, it’s not holding. I am requesting them to stop so that we can talk. We have said after all that we run an open door system whereby dialogue is the main thing and we have committed as government to always discuss things with the Mines or the chamber before anything could be implemented. Now if KCM are doing something like that, they are just going against something that we have talked about,” Yaluma said.
“We are not going to allow to see employees in the mines get back to the streets or get to work for some other contractor where job security will never be guaranteed because that contractor is going to work with those people for three years and after that it will spell a lot of people out of employment. So we would like to talk to KCM to ensure that we understand what they are trying to bring in and then we tell them what we feel as the government. But I can guarantee the Miners that they still have the employment as it was yesterday or the years ago.”
Yaluma said KCM had already agreed to abide by the directive to reverse all the transfers that it had already made.
“Just this morning, I had a meeting with KCM and they have agreed not to proceed with any transfer until we talk and agree the way forward. We are on record to say outsourcing is one source of doing business but you don’t outsource wholesale. You outsource to critical, if we agree that it’s a critical task, then we can go ahead and allow them to, but we must agree on what we are doing and protect the interest of the workers in the mining industry,” Yaluma said.
“And also they have also confirmed whatever, they are reversing the number of people they transferred who were at play, its 910 which they haven’t even completed but they did transfer 200 which I have told them to reverse with immediate effect until we have concluded our discussions. So to the miners out there, it is business as usual, they have their jobs until we have concluded our discussions between the government, KCM, and the Union.”
And Yaluma asked mines to publish how much money they were paying to government for the sake of transparency.
“All the mines have accepted the new tariffs except for one mine but we have concluded and they have come to acknowledge the new tariff and they are to pay off the arrears whichever they are applicable. The mining companies also must make known how much money in terms of revenues they are paying to the government for the sake of transparency,” he said.
And asked how effective the new committee on mining sector reforms would be compared to the previous ones, Yaluma said the committee was as a result of some complaints by mines that they were operating on loss for many years.
“No the President is not putting up a new committee. That committee is coming up because of somebody [who] said he has never made a profit for the past so many years. Then he said they must be playing with us, why are they in the country? If somebody says when he met the President last week, he says they have never made profits, then why are they in the country? Something must be going on wrong, they must be hiding something. Then it’s necessary that we put up a committee to look into that,” said Yaluma.