File: Coal Mine workers picking coal without protective clothes at Shaft One at the chinese collum mine

HUMAN Rights Watch has insisted that its report documenting various labour abuses by Chinese-run mines operating in Zambia is accurate and it has since reiterated that the Chinese government and management of the four mines highlighted in the report should take appropriate measures based on the findings of the report.

Reacting to a statement from the Chinese Embassy disputing the findings of the 122-page report, author (of the report) titled ‘You’ll be fired if you refuse: Labour abuses in Zambia’s Chinese State-owned copper mines’, Mathew Wells said the findings of abusive health and safety standards, long hours, and anti-union activities came directly from interviews with 95 miners in the Chinese-run companies as well as union and Government officials.

“Rather than dismiss the abuses described by their Zambian employees, the Chinese-run companies and the Chinese embassy should ensure that their investment in Zambia meets its potential by listening to the workers’ complaints and following Zambia’s labour laws.

The massive strikes in October should likewise send a signal that the miners at the Chinese-run companies are tired of having their rights abused,” he said.

Recently, more than 2,000 workers from Non-Ferrous China Africa (NFCA), one of the firms mentioned in the report, downed their tools and were subsequently sacked but later re-instated following the Government’s intervention.

The workers were pushing for improved conditions of service.

According to the report, NFCA(a subsidiary of China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation CNMC), which is among other three Chinese mining companies cited in the report, Southern Weekend quoted the CNMC general manger Luo Tao in November last year saying as at that period, NFCA was China’s only overseas mine that was already producing regularly and at a profit.

It adds that Southern Weekend reported that NFCA had an annual profit of US$40 million and by 2008 had “recouped its 2003 investment.”

The other CNMC subsidiaries cited in the report are Sino Metals Leach Zambia (Sino Metals), Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) and China Luanshya Mine (CLM).

Mr Wells, who is Human Rights Watch Africa division researcher, added that the Chinese Embassy’s denial is also inconsistent with a letter received from China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Corporation (CNMC), the parent company of the four copper mining operations in Zambia.

“CNMC said that it took our findings seriously and promised to conduct an in-depth investigation to ensure that abuses were stopped and that overall conditions were improved.

We hope that CNMC and the Chinese government fulfill that promise, so that the Zambia’s copper miners have their rights protected and receive the benefits of China’s impressive investment.”

A statement from the Chinese Embassy availed to the Times on November 4, 2011 dispelled the report regrettably describing its relevant contents as being not faithful to the truth as Chinese companies in question have always been closely following the local laws and regulations and have actively undertaken their social responsibilities.

The statement added that Chinese investors attached great importance to employees’ legal rights such as safety and salaries and have taken serious measures to ensure the protection of workers’ rights.

It stated further that Chinese companies in Zambia have for a long time been investing in Zambia on the basis of mutual benefits, creating a large amount of job opportunities, and making great contributions to Zambia’s social and economical development.

The report unveiled on November 3, 2011 details persistent abuses in the four mines mentioned, including poor health and safety conditions, regular 12 to 18-hour shifts involving arduous labour and anti-union activities, all in violation of local and international labour laws.

Human Rights Watch established in 1978 is a non-profit, independent, non-governmental human rights organisation renowned for its accurate fact-finding, impartial reporting, effective use of the media and targeted advocacy often in partnership with local human rights groups.
[Times of Zambia]

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43 COMMENTS

  1. PF we’re waiting for your response , you told us you’d make the chinese abide to zambian labour laws …i’ll also include local mines into that 

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  2. We Zambians are just lazy. Im in London and i do three jobs in a day such that I even have weak erections coz Im stressed. Bt I do it because I need to survive. If it were in Zambia, it would be a human rights issue. Here, Im a lecturer, a bar man and a toilet cleaner at a railway station.

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    • London???

      Go back to Zambia and work in those harsh conditions and see if you’ll the energy for another job after every shift.

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    • How dare you accuse us Zambians to be lazy, do you know how many minimum hours we are abliged to do by our employers, do you know how much we earn over the had jobs we do….”peanuts”…….if there in London you do a 2hrs Job the earning are equivalent to 8hrs job we do here in Zambia, You yourself is Lazy thats why you have run away to london do do ladies work. for F********kset!

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    • Atase Chiiii.kalaaaaaa, u re even happy elo ninshi ukasa amafi yobe nayaba nobe iwe kooolwe.
      I even have a weak erection, ukeshiba ngabakutomb.ela iwe push.
      U hate your self such that u re your slave, have money & not enjoying it or making use of it is as good as no.

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    • @Kuluku lukuKu atase iwe ch.ika.la!!!!!!!! u re even happy ati I clean toilets, ukukasa amafi yobe nayaba nobe ati am not lazy. Iwe koolwe but u hate your self, u re yo own slave. If you cant enjoy or use yo maneys its as good as no.
      Continues catching feaces & drinking left over beers in bars with saliva spitted in them u donkey.

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  3. I hope the Government’s U-Turn on Chinese Investment does not mean that, in addition to welcoming Chinese Investment, we will also welcome violations of our Labor Laws.  In addition, it is quite disappointing to hear the Chinese Embassy dispute the entire report.  Of course, it is your citizens in question, but justice is justice, and the moment we begin making exceptions, we fail in our ability to uphold its statutes 

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  4. Zambians, you are toooooo lazy you are given somthing to do,o u do is complain when are we going to work -creat your own companies and be your own bosses mind you not even one zambian can employee you.apreciat that you have somthing to do.foolish zambians all you know is talk talk. come on just work work foolish.

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  5. @Kuluku Lukuku – cleaning toilets is not an option in Zambia. Come back home. Atleast with your accent changed now,you can get a more decent job in one of the emerging Hotels in Lsk! I feel for your love of just “living in the UK”

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  6. who are this small dogs called chinese ? we have to kick them from our mines ……… and go back to china to eat dogs,snakes and crockdiles….., the idots, why abusing our poeple, and this dog eaters are very racist, as an african you can not marry the small things women why ?

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  7. Yes I agree us Zambians are lazy , I have been working on some roads in rural Zambia , I can tell you we are lazy we want alot of free money in the pockets where can the money come from if we do not want to work hard .

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  8. # 2, 4 and 5. You cannot just make sweeping statements just like that. I’ am sure there are millions of hard-working Zambians who will vehemently refute your notion. What is wrong with demanding proper protective clothing. # 2 I’ am pretty sure you do not use your bear hands to clean toilets, do you? I suggest we be mature and reflective in our discourse for the good of our Nation.

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  9. So you pointing fingers are not Zambian. Pulease. Zambians work as hard as any other nation…by that I mean that each country has its fair share of hard workers and lazy bums…that is neither here nor there. What this article is pointing out a report that confirmed the poor conditions workers in Chinese firms in Zambia work in. Despite your 2+ back breaking Jobs you work in Europe America etc you are not forced to work in conditions of poor safety, below minimum wage etc…where is your compassion for your fellow Zambians. Living abroad makes some peoples Brains soft.

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  10. For their report to have substance the researchers should have interviewed workers and managers at other mines, not just the Chinese-owned ones. Also how were the 95 respondents selected? It’s easy to find disgruntled workers anywhere in the world.

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  11. You can not dispute the true findings .You cannot say all Zambians are lazy.You should work for the Chinese in Zambia for you to understand the situation.Let us be realistic.The HRW should just be encouraged to do the same research through Zambia.The research should not only be aimed at Chinese business outlets.All local and foreign run companies should be scrutinized

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  12. Mr kuluku lukuku. you always make me wonder of whats in your mind.no wonder i was so accurate to describe you to be very dull. Who do u think the hell can sport your stupid ideas. Man stop being irelevant to society

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  13. Peter, just coz u went to CBU, learnt got a degree in forestry and u are now working as a registry clerk in Kalulushi is none of my business. Zambians are lazy period. always on facebook and blogs such as this one. Get a life.

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    • Iwe Lukuku,cleaning toilets doesnt make you a hard worker.That’s not being humble.Let whites clean the toilets.Dont make sweeping statements about Zambians being lazy.Some of us are very hard working.I’m a very young manager, and a director of my own company.I’m Zambian,black,young,successful and I dont clean toilets.By the way I live in Zambia.

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  14. Yes a good number of Zambians are lazy, but at the same time if labour laws are being violated, the Government must never tolerate that. All worker are entitled to have standard PPE and a union representative within their working enviroment for the interest of the workers welfare. I also agree with some people gagande’s comments that reseach should not only be aimed at Chinese business outlet but all local and other foreign companies. Companies must provide basic requirements to their staffs e.g. Meal breaks, correct PPE, Job Risk Assessments, minimum wage pay, compasionate leave, SSP, at least 11 hours rest period between shifts, Annual leave with pay. period medical check ups depending on the nature of the job they are doing in the mining industry.

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  15. Logic, those guys in the picture knew the job they were signing for. I can tell you that Im better off here. I even have a motel in Zambia and three guest houses in Lusaka. all from doing extra jobs. I employ 100 people, probably even your wife.

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  16. You have to work in a chinese mine to understand the abuses. As usual, we Zambians are jsut good at talking and fail to react to criticism of our foreign investers so called. #o2, 4, 5 you are foolish Zambians.

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  17. Ba Kalamoja ichindikeni please. Thats why u will be stuck in Zambia. U cant see beyond yo nose!

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  18. Iam proud of being Zambian! PERIOD. you *****s sleeping at other peoples’ countries’ Railway Station are a disgrace! tell your asses to get back home and be productive.. who told you eating MacDonalds branded foods makes you any better! Swine.

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  19. Ba Kuluku Lukunya! who envys a self-made refugees like you. Wat is good in being proud of other peoples Countries. Pliz be proud of the slums you come from! Who to you we even want to be second class human beings like you are treated? you are just a sleazy wanker!

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  20. Kuluku Lukuku, stop bluffing about your fortunes and face the real Zambian situations. Do you think your investments in Zambian would have been success if Zambians who are running them were as lazy as put it? By “kuluku” are you insinuating that you got all your wealth through crooked means?

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  21. IT IS BEING IRRESPONSIBLE FOR ONE TO COMPARE UK TO ZAMBIA,IN UK PEOPLE WORK SHORT HOURS COMPARED TO CHINESE WHO WORK LONG HOURS FOR LITTLE PAY.REMEMBER STRESS KILLS ,HOW DOES ONE WORK LONG HOURS IN A MALNOURISHED SYSTEM WHERE THE KAPENTA & IFISHIMU IS THE BEST.GUYS VIOLATION OF LABOUR LAWS IS TRUELY AT PLAY IN CHINESE FIRM.
    IN THE UK,U CAN WORK LIKE THAT BUT REMEMBER THE AFRICAN HARSH CONDITIONS.SELLING BEERS FOR 4HRS,LECTURING FOR 2 HRS AND CLEANING TOILET TAKES ONLY FEW MINUTES.PLEASE BE REAL ABOUT WHAT YOUR BROTHERS ARE GOING THROUGH,REMEMBER NOT EVERYONE CAN GO TO UK

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  22. Benge, Joker, grow up guys. u were born in zambia, dropped from school is zambia, married in Zambia, divorced or widowed in Zambia and will die in Zambia. who told u that europe is for Europeans only or China for Chinese? Im making mula in a foreig country which Im sending back to Zed to feed u guys. Apprecaite. Ubututu!

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  23. The Chinese Embassy should not refute these findings, who doesn’t know that zambian workers were shot at by chinese employers and what about the BEGRIM disaster where hundreds of our country men were exploded into oblivion??? This report is just stating the obvious and refuting it is calling us imbeciles. One suggestion, Kaluku lukuku is pair up with Mushota, they would make a contravesial couple!!!

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  24. Guys its not about too much work i know zambians are hard working. the thing here is over working and no protectiong we just lost two lives yesterday slashed by glass,working environment should be good nd safe for the employees.kuluku lukuku you use gloves in the toilets dont you?you enjoy your work even.can you hear these miners pls.

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  25. kuluku lukuku, wilatubepa  wikala kwambauleni.eko uwamya ama toilets yaba council.you can,t leave in uk iwe. 

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  26. The chinese can do whatever they want now that they have been invited to lunch by Chilufya. I think the ‘donchi kubeba’ was actually  cooked up between pf and the chinese.  How I miss the good old days of RB!

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  27. cleaning a toilet in the UK is being hardworking? and how much do you earn and how many hrs do you do it for…kaluku lukuku

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  28. Kuluku lukuku what lodon are you talking about? Stop insulting Zambians on Internet mate,you are not in Britain.you neither have any business in Zambia. Your language has sold you out. Be humble and exercise humility don’t be like the rich fool!

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  29. MR SATA RECEIVED GIFTS FROM THE CHANESE WHEN HE HOSTED THEM AT STATE HOUSE, NOW THERE IS NOTHING HE CAN DO ABOUT THEM.KUKOSAFYE APA CHAPWA

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  30. We have labour laws in Zambia with people employed to enforce them yet the abuses continue it makes me wonder as I go through the comments posted if it is not laziness then what is it, dullness?

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  31. Why are the chinese still abusing workers. Where was MCS kissed for him to make himself look fake before the Zambians, by not making his campaign policies abide:((?:(:(

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  32. Sata was given a gift he couldnt refuse by the Chinese,and Zambia has been turned into a Chinese province.Lukuku,hows Bauleni my friend?

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  33. AGONY IS…….firing RB for LIKING the Chinese,then putting SATA on the payroll only to discover few days later that he actually LOVES the Chinese more than RB did.

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