Message Mer 8 Mai 2013 23:22

Ndola Lime workers protest

OPERATIONS at Ndola Lime remained paralysed yesterday following the protest by over 400 workers demanding for better conditions of service.
Meanwhile, the over 600 unionised workers at 15 MCC, a company contracted by CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines at Milyashi Mining Project have resumed work to pave way for further negotiations over the new collective agreement with the union.
The workers at Ndola Lime vowed that they would not resume work and the kiln would remain shut at the plant if management, the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ), the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and government representatives do not sit down to review the collective agreement.
The workers that declined to be named said they were not happy that management and the unions settled for a 9.5 per cent salary increment and not the 25 per cent the workers had been demanding.
MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe said the workers were not happy with the agreement and the unions had been pleading with them to keep the plant running for the sake of protecting their jobs and give dialogue another chance.
"The workers are angry with us. They are not happy with the package but the bargaining committee that sat sometime in Lusaka reached a point where negotiations were concluded and we are just about to inform them about the outcome. There is already an agreement on the package, the 9.5 per cent plus the introduction of the education allowance to a tune of KR500 per employee," Chewe said.
He said the union had implored all the unionised workers to keep the plant running and management wanted the kiln which had been shut down by the workers to be restarted so that production could continue.
"As we speak, the plant is paralysed and we are looking at ways of convincing workers to go back to work because we are on top of things. We want the best for our members but that cannot happen amid such disputes, we appeal to the workers to resume operations," Chewe said.
Meanwhile, workers contracted by 15 MCC at LCM's Milyashi mine in Luanshya resumed work with the Monday afternoon shift to allow MUZ and management to conclude the bargaining process.
According to unionised workers at Milyashi Mining Section, they were demanding a 60 per cent salary increment but 15 MCC management offered them 12 per cent and had initially refused to adjust its offer upwards.
CNMC Luanshya Copper Mines head of public relations and business development Sydney Chileya said the company had been informed by its contractor, 15 MCC that workers had resumed work.
"The collective bargaining process does not allow workers to stop work when negotiations are still going on so we were told 15 MCC requested the union to inform the workers about that and they complied and everything normalised in the afternoon shift on Monday and as we speak everything is back to normal," Chileya said.
He said 15 MCC had contractual obligations to meet in terms of production at the mine hence the need for the management and the union to resolve their labour issues amicably.