Kagem Emerald Mining Limited has given its unionzed workers a 10 per cent salary increment.

The increment comes barely two weeks after workers protested for over 10 days and resulted into more than 15 workers being fired for demanding improved conditions of service.

Kagem General Manager Prahalad Kumar Singn confirmed the salary increment in a statement.

“Kagem has successfully concluded negotiations with the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) regarding improved conditions of service and salaries for employees. Despite disappointing auction revenues at its recently concluded Lusaka auction of high quality emeralds and the loss of production due to the recent work stoppage, the company has, in addition to new allowances including an education allowance, agreed to pay a 10 per cent salary increase effective 1 April 2018 with a further 10 per cent increase effective from 1 January 2019 (and up to 31 December 2019),” Singh stated.

“The agreement follows extensive negotiations between the management and union representatives, during which time a group of employees stopped work given a difference of opinion between them and union leaders regarding adherence to the well-established collective bargaining process. That group, incited by ring leaders, ignored the directive of the unions that they return to work and proceeded instead with four days of illegal industrial action.”

He insisted that there were some ‘ring leaders’ who instigated a “walkout” when the branch union visited the mine to brief the union members about the concluded arrangements.

“Subsequently, the negotiations were concluded and the new collective agreement was signed. The branch union visited the mine to brief union members about the duly concluded arrangements. However, the ring leaders instigated a walkout so that the briefing could not complete and sought to undermine the duly concluded agreement. Kagem believes that providing a safe and constructive working environment for all employees is fundamental in protecting the interests of all stakeholders. As such, and in forestalling further illegal industrial action, 15 individuals have since been dismissed,” Singh stated.

“Kagem is pleased to have reached a balanced agreement following a protracted series of negotiations with union representatives. We now look forward to continuing our strategy of growing Kagem into a national champion that the whole country should be proud of. The vast majority of our team members are dedicated and hard-working and we thank them sincerely for their ongoing efforts in pursuing our shared objectives.”

He further confirmed that all employees had returned for work and the mine was operating normally.

“Commensurate improvements in productivity were expected to help boost output and thus increase tax and dividend payments to the government and IDC of Zambia respectively, as well as additional support for the community as part of the company’s ethos of sharing the benefits of Kagem’s resources in a responsible manner,” stated Singh