Friday, February 20, 2009

KCM retrenches 700 workers

COMMENT - For years, the GRZ forfeited the collection of billions of US dollars in tax revenues, allegedly because of mining company threats that 'they would leave' if they had to pay taxes, 'they would leave' if the development agreements were amended, that 'this would lead to joblosses'. The government assured that all was ok, that even though they would not contribute to the Zambian economy through taxes, or reinvestment of profits, or the payment of a minimum wage to workers, 'they are bringing jobs'. Well where are the mining company shills and apologists today? Their bribes have been payed, and now they are quiet. Anyone who will speak up for foreign minign companies is a traitor, betraying the interest of the Zambian people and economy with every word they utter.

KCM retrenches 700 workers
Written by Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Friday, February 20, 2009 6:50:16 PM

OVER 700 Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) employees at its Nkana Integrated Business Unit (IBU) have been retrenched owing to the closure of parts of the facility.

And KCM has terminated contracts of suppliers and contractors that were engaged at Nkana IBU. The IBU includes a smelter, acid plant, refinery and an underground mine.

Parts of the facility that have closed include the smelter and acid plant while the refinery is being extended.

In letters notifying workers of their retrenchment, KCM human resources manager Suzanne Ziko stated that the company was restructuring its operations to ensure its future viability.

"Following this restructuring, we regret to inform you that your services with the company are no longer required," stated Ziko. "The company hereby gives you one month's notice and your last shift will be 20th March 2009. Your redundancy package will be calculated as follows: accrued terminal benefits held in trust calculated as follows: basic pay x 28 months plus service; repatriation allowance: benefits of your service with Konkola Copper Mines Plc will be calculated at two months pay for each completed year of service on pro rata basis and added to your benefits in trust.

"If you wish to leave work immediately, you will receive one month's salary in lieu of notice. We also wish to advise that it is a requirement for you to undergo the exit medical examinations at the occupational health centre or the mine clinic. Should you have any queries, please see the SHRO (Senior Human Resources Officer)- industrial relations/welfare. We thank you for your contribution during your employment with this company and wish you the best for the future."

And in an interview, one of the KCM employees who had just received his letter of retrenchment and was leaving the premises after his last shift, Fidelis Mpundu, said he would turn to farming.

Mpundu, whose life working the mines totals 30 years, said he was delighted that he would leave in good health but that he felt pity for young miners who had been recently engaged.

Mpundu said KCM had facilitated an entrepreneurship workshop slated for next week while him and his fellow employees await their benefits.

And another retrenched miner who served 28 years, Chibuye Mwewa, asked the government to allow the miners take over the smelter using the funds that were held by the state in trust after the handover of Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) units to foreign investors.

About 8,108 mining and mining related jobs have been lost on the Copperbelt Province partly due to low copper prices and other economic factors.

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