Message Mer 4 Jan 2017 14:49

KCM operations ground to a halt as KCM employees block gates

Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) employees in Chililabombwe have refused to enter the main gates into the plants of Konkola Business units demanding salary adjustments.

All senior staffs that tried to enter the gates were threatened to be beaten and all the shift employees are outside the gates.

Among other things, miners are complaining of lack of proper treatment and medicines.

The employees talk to said that Doctors at mine hospital were now leaving in preference to Government hospitals, while Asian counterparts’ were now seeking treatment at the new mini Indian African Medicare Services Limited hospital in Chingola.

This mini hospital is located in Ghandi road just after total service station.

KCM has also increased school fees in Trust schools while salaries for its employees had remained stagnant for over four years.

KCM has been faced with numerous self-imposed financial challenges following its deliberate policy to pay Indian contractors on time but not Zambian suppliers and contractors.

All Zambian senior staffs were not paid their Christmas bonus and December salaries but all Indians expatriates were paid in full.

The company has shown no willingness to adjust salaries for its unionised employees and this has led to the protest of today.

Protests by KCM employees usually turn nutsy if remedial delay to be deployed.

KCM main operation and production is in Konkola following the putting of Nchanga Underground on care and maintenance.

The KCM workers at Chililabombwe’s number three shaft have downed tools demanding salary increments.
The over 700 miners who started their peaceful protest on Tuesday alleged that they had never received salary increments for the past five years and that negotiations between the KCM management and the union leaders last year had not been conclusive.
Efforts to get a comment from KCM Public Relations and Communications Manager Shapi Shachinda proved futile as his mobile phone went unanswered while Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) President Chishimba Nkole declined to comment referring the matter to management.

Mr Nkole said the union had reasons for not commenting on the matter saying they were not too sure of the occurrence and they opted to be very accurate when issuing any statement.

However, the miners who spoke on conditions of anonymity said they had lost confidence in their KCM union branch representatives as they were not given an update on the negotiations that started last year.

They said KCM should immediately effect salary increments or trim the workforce and issue them benefits if they had challenges in their operations.

The miners also said they were awaiting National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) President James Chansa who allegedly promised to address them but to no avail by Press time.