Tuesday, June 18, 2024

MP describes contractor wages as slavery


Opposition Patriotic Front Kankoyo Member of Parliament Percy Chanda has described the monthly wages for workers engaged by ZAM-Chin contractors to construct houses in Mufulira as slavery.

And Mufulira town clerk, Charles Mwandila, has asked the workers who are complaining
to terminate their contracts if they are not happy with the wages.

Mr. Chanda who was received at the Chibolya site today with hostility by both ZAM-Chin officials and the site foreman Davis Musonda, refused to comment on the complaints by the workers, saying that the MP had not followed procedure when inquiring about the wages.

The uncompromising Mr. Musonda told Mr. Chanda that he was interfering in the operations of the contractor and that he should leave the Zam-Chin officials alone because they were not able to communicate well in the English language.

Some workers  talked to by ZANIS said they are being paid K5,000 per day for building of the  44 houses.

They also complained that the contractor had withheld their National Registration Cards (NRCs) for no apparent reason.

Mr. Musonda explained that management withheld their NRCs because some workers were running away with uniforms when recruited.

And Mr. Mwandila has castigated the complaining workers to leave the site if they are not satisfied with the wages because they had agreed to be paid K150,000 per month at K5,000 per day before being.

Zam-Chin has been contracted by ZCCM- Investment Holdings to construct 44 houses in
Chibolya township for the former Zambia Railways compound residents. The project is expected to be completed by September this year.



  1. It is the chinesse again with their slave wages. Working for $1 per day sounds outrageous. And now, here is a Mr Mwandila who by virtue of his position, I assume, is one of the civic leaders exepected to safe guard the civil rights of his people yet doing the exact opposite. Imagine if it was you working for a dollar per day with someone holding you to ransom by keeping you registrtion card. The chinesse characters have come here to reap where they did not sow and on top of that they keep on exploiting our people. Do these contracors adhere to the goverments proposed minimum wage. If not, as in this case, there must be something seriously wrong with our law enforcers in this country. I am sorry to say that Zambia will soon be a province in China if we take these Chiness for granted and do not take care of our labour laws so seriously. Abash slave labour!!!

  2. Town Clerk you dont deserve to be in Zambia.Bwana MP I support you totally for intervening in this case.Firstly you Mwandila, how much do you spend on your cell phone per month?How much is mealile, cooking ,sugar and finally rent for a small sized room?Let us be serious when dealing with chinese, chinese chaps are the most mean people I have evr come across.Its not like they have no ability to pay,Irrespective of the minimum wage its just logical that no one can live by that pay, that is why stealing will never cease in Zambia because of people like Mwandila,you are not worth your salt, Chinese chaps are exploiters,uncaring,rude,abusers etc and above all have no respect for common man.Mwandila desperate situations call for desperate solutions , these people are desperate to make ends meet and will accept anything just to be on the payroll but they must be protected.Shame on you Mwandila and Musonda.Mr MP please renegotiate with these chinese guys, even doubling the wages.

  3. And for you Musonda, the fact that these chinese chaps are paying you slightly more Kwachas doesnot mean you automatically cease to be Zambian , what those guys are going through ,you have also experienced it, you must not side with those guys,one day they will pack and leave, you still remain with your fellow zambians.your days are coming watch out.The measure you give is the measure you get.Iam very disgusted

  4. Chilumba, cool down. Look at it this way. The Chinese have the world’s worst record in abuse of human rights.
    You know the saying, ” Birds of the same feather’s flock together.” This is why Africa and China are making good trading partner’s because both know how best to mistreat their own people. The reason why China has not gone to the developed world’s is because the govt’s there will not allow them to mistreat their nationals. The reason why developed countries have gone to China, is even if China mistreated it’s own people’s, that their problem. I think, we have a govt,and it is there to make the rule’s. The govt is in the forefront in mistreating it’s people.What would you expect of the people that are coming over? Has govt ever paid it’s employee’s on time? That is ill-treatment too. Council worker’s have gone months without pay? Govt retrenches it’s employ without pay. This is real torture from a Goverment to it’s own people. Govt underpays it’s own people.etc

  5. And as you have mentioned to Mwandila, The Council now is telling the people to terminate their contracts if they are not happy. How then would you expect Chinese to treat the local people when even the Boss of the council has given permission to the chinese to mistreat it’s own people. Something insane about this Town Clerk of Mufulira. He has no morals,no value and regards for other human beings. He is supposed to be in the lead to create employment for the people of Mufulira, so they would not have to work on such mocking amounts, but understand him.He is drank with Munkoyo or Chipolopolo from the breweries. These are the council official’s who report for duty DRANK. The day God will come to Zambia, Heads will Roll for been the best pretenders in prayers but the first to ill-treat his people. Musonda,for doing your job, still God will not Forgive you. You ludicrous,bantam, dummy, drudge Zambian.

  6. Minister of labour work up and your knew deal dealings. No one has the right to keep another persons registration card except for immigration where there is an established reason to do so.
    Why have we allowed ourselves to sink so low. Fire the town clerk and respect the Elected official. That is why he was given those votes. Bravo MP and dont get intimidated because you have the mandate of the people unlike that guy who just works for the council and is in the pockets of the contractor i presume.

  7. Where is the District labour officer for Mufulira. Where is the trade union. Indeed ZMK150,000.00 is below the stipulated minimum wage. The labourers do not deserve such wages.

    I however,wish to state that it is not the role of the MP or the Town Clerk to engage themselves in labour disputes between employers and employees. The MP is just a politician and the Town Clerk, a local government employee have no mandate to enter private premises with a view to mediate in labour disputes. They are not trade union representatives. Just like if I have a dispute with my house servant my MP has no right to come to my home purpoting to speak on behalf of the house servant. I will only allow him to do so if I consent to his mission.

    All the MP needs to do is to put pressure on the relavant institutions whose role it is to safe guard the interest of workers. The ministry of labour must be seen to be working. If the labourers have no trade union they should be advised to form one

  8. Daka, I somehow stand to differ with you on the roles of MP,an MP’role is quite diversy and has the mandate to intervene where it best suits him.In short being a policy maker he can as well be seen to see that the policy he feels adequate is appropriately adminstered and hence his direct intervention.So many issues here went wrong,wrongful retention of regsitration cards to slavery wages and called for immediate attention.The idiocy displayed by the Town clerk could have prompted the MP to move in.Common sense must prevail sometimes over some matters,one key quality of a leader is to make decisions and beheld accounatble for his decisions.Vera recently went to Livingstone and had the moral right to intervene by the inhumane conditions of service to the workers being offered by those pagans.Already to me The Town Clerk appears to be on the payroll of those chaps .But what the MP is doing was just getting to apply whatever the law entails in the protection of his electorates.

  9. Daka, what is the role of a Politican and a Town Clerk? Until their roles are known to the people of zambia shall we understand why elect and appoint them. If you are mistreating your servant in the house, the law is there to protect her and the MP been the representative of her in the house of parliament where the rules and laws are made,will advise her on what action to take against you.

  10. Daka,if you are genuine employer firstly you should satisfy yourself that all procedures involved in hiring that labour are fulfilled, and the example you have given a direct humane one cos it really refelects on you heavily.Certainly with due respect you would not want to do your worker what your employers have not done to you.So experience is the best teacher.Mwandila and Musonda know exactly what is on the ground and to take a blind eye and assume otherwise is morally wrong.Kayata is correct to say until we know and understand why we elect MPs and their roles shall we be in position to justify our actions.These are vulnerable persons some, affected by privatisation whose rights have greatly been infringed and are looking at every opportunity to make ends meet. Mind Daka we are human beings because of human dignity of others.I would love to see how you treat your house maid.

  11. The problem is not the chinese people but the Zambian government who are in a hurry to woo foreign investors regardless of the way they treat our people.

    Foreign investors are supposed to contribute positively to our well-being and not negatively. But who can blame them with the nchekelako attitude of our leaders (president included)

  12. The point I was putting across is that an employer whether,chinese or not, is not legally obliged to listen to the local MP or Town Clerk on issues concerning labour matters. The employer is, however, legalised obliged to account to the labour officer in the District as well as the trade union.

    Therefore in the matter at hand the both the MP and the Town Clerk overstepped their roles. An MP is not really an “alrounder”. He is not expected to attend to every problem in his constituency.

    It should be noted that the labour Officer is obliged to explain to the MP as to why the workers in his he has allowed the employer to work under such conditions. The MP should have complained to the labour officer or better still the labour commissioner or Minister of labour himself. It is only these people who can take an action against any erring employer, not the MP or the Town Clerk. Though not supporting him, that is why Musonda was arrogant to both of them.

  13. Musonda’s attitude is a matter we should look at seriously,he is greedy and has capitalised on the english literacy levels of chinese. The fact that they cant communicate in english does not empower Musonda to completely shut out negotiations between him and the MP.He is such a pain to deal with.I support Chilumba’s views , the MP could have gone to obatin first hand information for him to pursue the matter amicably but from the script above Mwandila,Musonda appear to be partisan and are not ready to listen.Its this Zambian attitude which is costing us our freedom of expression and empowering Chinese to think exploitation is good.Daka, Mwandila,Musonda you are just disillusioned lot not to think beyond your noses.This whole thing is greed centred. Mwandila and Musonda have found a small gold mine and are capitalising on the literacy levels of the chinese infestors.What is Musonda achieving by being arogant?He is just a pain.Some thing must be done to serve our people from being abused

  14. Insults will not take us aware. Insults will not change the fact that currently our labour laws do not allow an MP,despite his/her good intentions,to be a labour inspector. Only the labour commissioner and his can enforce labour laws.It is not the role of act as a trade unionist. All an MP can do is to take to task or lobby the people who are supposed to insure that slave conditions are not tolerated at work places. He should have directed his energies at the labour officer.
    I am not disillusioned by simply stating the fact. I could be living in fantansy if I believed that an MP has a right to act as a labour inspector or trade unionist. The fact is that he/she is not.
    Please let us not encourage our MPs to take roles which they are not supposed to take. The result will be the embrancement honourable Chanda endured.

    My appeal to people who can not accept the bitter fact at hand, is that we should fight for law reforms,starting with the constitution.

  15. What is the statutory minimum wage in Zambia? I believe it is somewhere around Zmk 50,000. If thats true, Mr Chinaman has commited no offence. That MP should go to parliament and present his case there otherwise he has no case. I am waiting to hear a time when parliament or Ministry of labour will announce a reasonable minimum wage otherwise employers will continue to exploit their workers. The current law on wages is on the side of employers

  16. Mr Kapaipi a little knowledge is dangerous and sometimes it is better to stay mute rather than express your total ingnorance in public. From which media did you hear that the minimum wage in Zambia is K50 000?Do you ever keep abreast with what is happening in our country? The stipulated minimum wage is K250 000. Now I don’t mean you start jumping up becuase even this figure is far on the low side. Keep in touch with current affairs bwana or else you will remain in the dark like that. Stop speculating and live in a real world.

  17. Daka everywhere there insults what is wrong with you?Which school did you go to where every word is taken as an insult?Look at your number 14 comment?Kapaipi and Daka you need to form a league to undertstand real issues.Daka you are holier than thou.Chinese are are just as hopeless as anything.they have the worst human rights record for you own information Daka and Kapaipi

  18. Comment no. 17. This is not about forming a league. Like someone said we all can not think the same way.

    I am just happy and actually vindicated that you like insults. According to you this happens everywhere in the world. But for me I will not call anyone names.

    I have restrained myself to comment on your attack in respect of my academic qualification. I do not want to brag about that as I regard it as a non issue.

    Intelligent debates is not about personal issues. The real issue before us is whether or not corrupt people should be adopted. I have given my comment without insults. You chose to give yours with insults. That where we have diagreed. If you are prone to to the use vulgurity, please continue. I can not force you to stop. You can not force me to insult, even there are insults all over the world.

    Your personal tirade towards me,really are uncalled for. I would rather be a “holier than thou” by not using vulgar language just because most people are doing the same

  19. Daka, the arguments you put across makes sense. Which one would any person consider as an insult,: calling a person hopeless or regarding a person’s comment’s as insults? The role of the MP is to summon the Labour Commissioner, as he/she reports to Parliament, where the MP is part of that association of 150 dozing member’s. Hence, we have the MP who can interfere in disputes as a representative, but ofcourse you know that we have the 3 arms of Govt who enforces the law.

  20. My apologies to every one comment no. 18 was meant for another article.

    On the issues of this particular article, I still stand by my earlier comment that the MP was wrong in trying to enforce the labour laws at that site. He is entitle to make a comment and condemn the slave wages through the media just like any ordinary person can do. That is where he ends. He can not for instance order the closure of the work place even if he finds that they have no protective ware. This applies even to Ministers.Not every Minister has the power to enforce labour laws except the line Ministry. Remember Madam Simango crying on TV at a Chinese coal mine in Southern Province last year.

    The person to blame is the Mufulira District labour officer. He role is to enforce labour laws in that district.The MP should have gone to that officer and lodge his complaints.

    The only solution to the bad labour laws is to have them repealed, rather allowing the MP to be embarranced.

  21. Bwana Anonymous,
    The stipulated minimum wage is Zmk 250,000…. This a big joke given the current cost of living in Zambia.

    Mbuya Daka,
    You are right on…

  22. State warns foreign investors


    GOVERNMENT has warned that it will not tolerate any foreign investors engaging in acts of casualisation of labour.

    In an interview yesterday, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ronald Mukuma, said Government was concerned with the increasing casualisation in the private sector.

    Mr Mukuma said his ministry was beefing up its inspection department to ensure that casualisation was brought under control.

    “Casualisation is very rife in the country and government is concerned, I am urging foreign investors not to entertain the practice.

    Workers must be employed on full time because Government will not allow any investor to promote casualisation,” Mr Mukuma said.

    He said most of the companies were not respecting the country’s labour laws.

    The minister said Government would soon commence regular inspections aimed at stamping out casualisation.

    “Most of the companies are practicing casualisation.

    Read Daka

  23. I have read and agreed with the comments at 23. If you have read my earlier comments I have not supported the slave wages at the Chinese firm in Mufulira. I am against it.

    My point, however, is that it is not the role of an MP to be an inspector of labour. The employer is not obliged to let him do that. What the MP should have is to go to the district labour officer to put to task the person in charge there as to why he has allowed such a situation to happen at the chinese company. The labour officer could be seen to do his work.

    In short the MP’s visit was fruitless. Of course the MP can condemn the pathetic working conditions like any one including myself have done.

  24. Mbuya Daka, stop being a champanion of words only, be realistc, empty words will not save nation. The MP was visiting his const. when the issue of wages came up and he commented, so the as usual the media brought it to the attention of public (MP’s comments). Not that he wanted to act as labour officer. It is up the L/officer to follow it up. What Mufurira town clerk should know is that, this govn position are not perm. any time he will be out and finds himself like those workers. Mr Town clerk have a human heart and not an animal’s heart like chinese.

  25. Mbuya Human Heart. My humble appeal is for us Zambians to advocate for the change of labours laws. I have already said this. We should start with the constitution. We definitely need a new constitution. May this will even spell out the roles of MPs.

  26. Mbuya Daka, now you are talking, it should start in your heart, by feeling it for the poor workers, who are getting as little as what Bwana Mufurira town clerk spend on foods for his dogs every. This was want the MP was feeling when he found out the little wages workers are getting at ZAM-Chin Contractors.

  27. Nomenclature you are busy figiting on the periodic table no wonder you dont know that there is a minimum wage.Along time ago it used to K96,000 but this has since be revised to K250,000.Start getting to know what is obtaining in your country.Stop behaving like you just act on impulse and dream things.Get to the facts man.Which element are you?Helium or hydrogen?

  28. If the minimum wage in Zambia is K250,000 per month then this case should be referred to the Ministry concerned and be dealt with either terminating the contract awarded to the Chinese or make the company pay all the workers back dated salaries that will stop this kind of practice. As for Mr Mwandila I can only say he is acting out of the usual disease of Zambians in top positions -Corruption- We can not attack the Chinese they are just operating in a fertile land full of people who do not know what they are worth. The day we start valueing ourselves that is the day we will start awarding simple building contracts to Indegenious Zambians. If anyone needs some examples of how the Chinese treat workers just listen to all the reports from China on workers abuse for them it is nothing as for confiscating NRC cards that is the common practice where ever slave labour is in place. Mr Mwandila knows this he is educated enough to see reports on BBC or CNN of Chinese human rights abuse.

  29. Ba Daka
    The role of the MP is not to watch his/her people being illtreated.Please do not comment without full understanding of the subject,lets not mislead the people.Politics is a social management meaning managing the affairs of people.Mps just like the President are elected to ensure that so that social economical aspect of our nation is equatably Managed on behalf of the people.
    Chines people have no respect for human rights watch for them. Muzalila Zambian if you are not careful enough to show them the boundaries of our labour laws.

  30. The point has already been made. An MP is not an Inspector of Labour,whether the company is Chinese or not and despite his/her good intentions.That is why he was given a “cold shoulder”.If it was an Inspector of Labour who did what the Honourable Inspector did, people like Musonda could not have reacted in that way.

    Please do not encourage the MP to be embarrased like that in future.

  31. Daka, mwandila is embarking on K600m street lighting in Mufurila,so what must he do to get the work done?
    chinese masters again?

  32. There must be a competitive tender. Your guese of who will be awarded the tender may be as good as mine. I nonestly do not know who will get the tender.

  33. Dont worry about english mistakes its normal its not your mother tongue,LPM today is telling us that people always complain about their tongues slipping and yet the tongue is firmly anchored.Your much treasured cifire is being offered deputy minister job?does that make you any happy?

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