Thursday, March 27, 2014

Govt declines to process FQM, NUMAW deal

By Darious Kapembwa
Wed 18 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE government has declined to process the 2014 collective agreement signed between First Quantum Mining and the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers.

The agreement in question which rival union, the Mineworkers Union of Zambia, refused to sign entailed that NUMAW members were to get a 25 per cent salary increment covering a period of three years. The workers were to get 10 per cent in 2014, eight per cent in 2015 and seven per cent in 2016 which also meant that there was not going to be negotiations for better salaries and improved conditions of service.

NUMAW president James Chansa signed on behalf of his union despite resistance from some of his members while MUZ refused to sign, saying it was a betrayal to the general membership.

According to a letter dated December 13, signed by labour commissioner Cecilia Mulindeti Kamanga, to the two unions and FQMO obtained by The Post, the ministry was unable to process the collective agreement because it was not supported by consensus from representatives of all the workers concerned whose conditions of service were under review.

"The office of the undersigned is in receipt of the 2014 Collective Agreement signed between FQMO and NUMAW for approval by the Minister of Labour and Social Security in accordance with section 70 and 71 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act Cap 269," read the letter in part.

"In addition, communication has been received from MUZ indicating that they are not party to the 2014 Collective Agreement as also confirmed by the minutes of the signing ceremony held on 3rd December 2013...In this regard, I wish to refer the Collective Agreement back to the Joint Industrial Council for the employee representatives to have a collective position on the offer from management," read the letter.

Reacting to the development, MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe said it was pleasing that the government was not compromised when it came to defending workers' rights.

"We thank the government, unlike the previous government where some ministers and some union leaders were compromised by multilateral corporations. But we wish to call upon law enforcement agencies to extend the fight against corruption to unions, so that people live within their means and represent our members without being compromised," said Chewe.

Chansa was unavailable for comment by press time.

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