The Chinese managers of Zambia’s Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) agreed on Thursday to reinstate 500 workers who had been sacked, their union said.
“They have assured us that everybody will get back to work and we hope normal operations will resume on Monday,” National Union of Mining and Allied Workers (Numaw) general secretary Albert Mando told Reuters.
“We will then start our salary negotiations again.”
CCS employees went on strike and rioted on Tuesday over pay and work conditions, injuring a Chinese manager and a Zambian.
The incident highlighted tensions between Zambian workers and Chinese managers in the mining industry.
Chambishi Copper Smelter is the first of 50 Chinese companies that plan to invest over $800 million in a tax free zone in Zambia within the next five years, Zambian officials said.
The growing presence of Chinese firms in Zambia has prompted an anti-Chinese backlash in some parts of the country, with the main opposition party accusing Mwanawasa of allowing the Asian newcomers to exploit workers.
Earlier , the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) asked Chambishi Copper Smelter to reconsider its decision to fire 500 workers, for riotus behaviour.
The FFTUZ also appealed to government to immediately intervene in the matter.
FFTUZ National Executive Secretary, Lyson Mando, said in a statement to ZNBC news that government should help the two parties, resolve the matter amicably.
Mr. Mando also called for the release of seven workers detained by police, in connection with the riot at Chambeshi Smelter – Tuesday.
He said there is an urgent need for the union and management at the smelter to resume negotiations to resolve a number of concerns raised by the workers.
However, Mr. Mando has warned that his union will not condone unruly behavior from its members.
On Tuesday, Zambian workers at Chambeshi Smelter fought with their Chinese colleagues, in an incident sparked by demands for better conditions of service