Monday, August 09, 2010
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Sun 08 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT
NATIONAL Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) national secretary Goodwell Kaluba has described KCM’s defence over its decision to outsource some of its units as a lame excuse.
And Kaluba has blamed the government over what is transpiring at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) in terms of outsourcing, observing that the mining giant cannot make such a decision without the blessings of the government.
Reacting to KCM spokesperson Rahul Kharkar’s explanation that the objectives of sub-contracting (outsourcing) were to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve recoveries at the plant and that it was not designed to result into job losses, Kaluba said the issues of outsourcing at KCM had not began today.
“Those are just lame excuses because these issues have not started today. Even during negotiations in the other year and last year, KCM has always been showing negativity in terms of production. They have always claimed low production and low profits,” he said.
He wondered how KCM expected to run their plant efficiently when they had not paid any attention to rehabilitating their dilapidated equipment or buying new equipment altogether.
Kaluba observed that KCM’s failure to maintain its equipment was what was leading them to outsource.
“Much as they have done a lot at KDMP Konkola Deep Mining Project, there are a lot of other departments that they have been failing to maintain. An example is the concentrator and the open pit,” he said.
Kaluba said as long as KCM outsourced certain departments, the unions would be weakened because workers that would start working for contractors would do so on contract basis and that some of them would end up losing jobs since it would be the prerogative of contractors to take the workers on or not.
He urged KCM to make a decision if they had failed to run the mine, adding that there were a lot of people that could afford to run it.
And Kaluba said the government was also to blame for what was happening at KCM.
“For investors to have the audacity to outsource, they know that they have a grip from somewhere. Government is also a shareholder in KCM and if they are meeting and making these decisions, obviously they are aware. KCM can’t make such a decision minus government,” said Kaluba.
He said the government was not looking into the welfare of its own people and that they should realise that when people become contract workers, even their the government tax base would be affected.
“People who will be working for contractors will be getting mediocre salaries mostly below the tax threshold.”