THE Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) has commended Kansanshi Mining Plc for reviewing its conditions of service for workers and allowing successful negotiations with trade unions.

According to a statement, SARW, in an earlier report, exposed how the mining company’s bargaining process divided the workers and weakened the unions by giving financial incentives to some workers on condition that they cancel union membership

“The first report published in 2019, exposed how Kansanshi’s bargaining process divides the workers and weakens the unions. At the time, one union even accused the company of using money to divide workers, by giving financial incentives to some workers on condition that they cancel union membership. SARW’s first report also found that workers faced intimidation from Kansanshi Management in order to silence them from asking for a living wage,” the statement read.

“Southern Africa Resource Watch (SARW) has noted the progress made in the collective bargaining process between Kansanshi Mining Plc and trade unions representing 2,350 employees at its mine in Solwezi, Zambia. SARW commends the mining company for making an effort towards improving conditions of service for the next two year and awaits confirmation from the unions representing the workers on whether a Collective Bargain Agreement deal to this effect has been signed. The conclusion of the negotiations with the unions comes roughly a month after SARW published its second report on First Quantum Minerals’ subsidiary Kansanshi Mine. The report assessed the impact of the mine’s social investment in the local communities within which the mine is operating and how the company is mitigating the adverse effects of its activities on employees, local communities, and the environment.”

SAWR further noted that the outcome of the agreement was a victory for the workers and the unions.

“These latest developments in relation to its labour force, shows that Kansanshi Mine is willing to make room for improvements. The outcome of the recent Collective Bargaining Agreement is not only a victory for the unions; it is also a victory for the mine workers who through their labour contribute to creation of the wealth Kansanshi Mine enjoys.

According to the statement, SARW’s Executive Director, Claude Kabemba, disclosed that the negotiations took place with the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia, National Union of Mining and Allied Workers, United Mineworkers Union of Zambia, Miners and Allied Workers Union, and Consolidated Mining and Allied Workers Union of Zambia and area step in the right direction.

The terms of the agreement include a salary increment of 15 percent for 2021 and 11 percent for 2022 as well as a minimum basic salary for the lowest paid employees adjusted to K4,460 per month.

SAWR stated that it also made recommendations for the mine to provide equal quality education to the community and provide more classroom blocks to existing public schools in the host community.

“Part of the recommendations made in SARW’s second report was for the mine to provide equal quality education to the community and increase efforts to provide more classroom blocks to the existing public schools in the area. While we are hopeful that the company will take appropriate actions to address some of its social interventions which were found wanting by our studies, SARW has noted that the Kansanshi Mine has also agreed to an educational allowance increase of K2,800/term for 2021 and to K3,108/term for 2022 for its employees, an amount which is still relatively low,” read the statement.