By SILUMESI MALUMO
THE job freeze imposed by Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) is null and void and management should immediately rescind it without fail, Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Richard Musukwa has ordered.
KCM announced that it would no longer employ new workers and would neither promote nor renew contracts for its current employees.
The mining firm also said that it would not revise conditions of service for its employees until further notice.
But Mr Musukwa told the Daily Nation yesterday that Government did not recognise the mining firm’s decision hence the directive that a immediately rescinded the decision.
He threatened that Government would take legal action against the mining company if it did not immediately reverse the decision. Mr Musukwa said Government would engage legal procedures to compel the mining firm to do the right thing in the interest of the country and workers.
Mr Musukwa said Government would not accept baseless double standards from the mining firm. The minister said that the decision by KCM would not be tolerated because it could cause the Zambian people to rise against the government.
“KCM has implemented draconian ideas which are not in the best interest of employees. KCM has continued to make the PF government unpopular among people because of non-operationalisation of some open mines,” he said.
“And Government will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. The management was everyday coming up with ideas on experimental basis. As we speak, KCM embarked on a process of out sourcing the project which the union, stakeholders and government rejected,” Mr Musukwa said.
“Currently the mining firm has implemented cost saving measures, such as removal of over time, weekend allowances, bonuses and other conditions which can provide incentives to workers to maximize production and we will not tolerate such behaviour,” he said.
“Many workers have stayed for a long time without getting paid, a situation which has caused misery to our people in Chingola, Chililabombwe, Kitwe and Nampundwe. People are insulting government when the issue has been caused by KCM,” Mr Musukwa said.
Mr Musukwa also directed KCM chairperson, Tom Albanese, and board to inject fresh capital into the mines to revamp its operations as the current management seemed to lack capacity to transform it. Mr Musukwa said the mine leadership must rescue the firm from collapse by stopping the unnecessary conditions which could negatively affect the employees.