Wednesday, June 12, 2013

KCM jobs secure
By Staff Reporters
Thu 06 June 2013, 14:00 CAT

Konkola Copper Mines has behaved the way a responsible investor should behave, says labour minister Fackson Shamenda. Konkola Copper Mines has with immediate effect halted plans to lay off 2,000 permanent workers.

Last month, KCM wrote to the mineworkers unions and the government over its intentions to reduce 2,000 permanent jobs across its operation citing a number of challenges prominent among them the downward trend of copper prices at the London Metal Exchange (LME), the increase in petroleum products, electricity tariffs, high cost of labour, the impact on operations arising from statutory instruments numbers 32, 33 and 78 and the increase in mineral royalty tax to six per cent.

The labour reduction plans by KCM were however widely condemned by a cross section of society and the government that challenged the company to handover its mines to the state if it had failed to run them.
In a statement yesterday, KCM public relations manager Joy Sata said the redundancy programme originally proposed by the company had been put off.

"KCM wishes to notify all stakeholders that it has been engaged in very progressive discussions with the government and the unions on the current challenges facing the company. As a result of the steps that are being jointly taken to address these challenges, significant progress has been made in identifying measures that will mitigate the company's financial and business challenges. KCM therefore wishes to advise that the redundancy programme originally proposed by the company has been put-off. The company, unions and government are engaging to find a lasting solution," Sata stated.

She said KCM was confident that during these discussions, the parties would reach a win-win solution.

Sata further commended the government and the unions for their positive contributions to the process.

Commenting on the development, Shamenda said he had a fruitful meeting with KCM management during which he, together with mines minister Yamfwa Mukanga, agreed that the mining company would not retrench any miners.

Shamenda said the government representatives advised KCM to look at other avenues other than retrenchments.

"We convinced them that that is not a right thing to do. I wish to pay tribute to KCM for listening and wish to hail them for being a responsible investor. I wish other managers in other foreign companies operating in Zambia could behave the same way," said Shamenda.
Mine deputy minister Richard Musukwa commended the company for listening to government and stakeholders over the issue.

"I want to applaud and thank KCM for taking such a bold decision in national interest and that they ought to ensure that operations are sustained. We have worked with KCM, I was an employee of KCM and we know that company and that's why we rejected and we strongly stood against its intentions to retrench 2,000 employees because we never believed that the company could abandon our people like that. I sincerely thank them for rescinding the decision," Musukwa said.

He said the general workforce at KCM must support the company by ensuring that it works hard to boost production and reduce the cost of operations.

Musukwa said employees at the mining giant must be motivated and must avoid pilferage of any form to ensure that the company and the jobs were saved.

He said the government remained open and committed to ensuring that the company survives.

Dr Kalombo Mwansa, former mines minister in the Levy Mwanawasa government, commended KCM, the unions and the government on the route taken.

"This is an excellent development and it shows the power of dialogue," Dr Mwansa said in an interview. "Dialogue is the way to solve problems. From what has happened, we can learn lessons that the power of dialogue is indispensable in solving any problem that should confront humanity in any form."

MMD president Nevers Mumba said urged government not to wait for a crisis when dealing with investors.

He said the government should always employ dialogue and enact favaurable policies that would also benefit investors.

"The issues at KCM worried us very much, but we pleaded with them to find other options to keep the jobs that were at stake. We are happy that the government has resolved this issue and have avoided unnecessary job losses," said Mumba.

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