KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has announced its intentions to cut down the total number of employees by 2,000 from the current 8,263.
But government yesterday engaged the mining firm over its decision saying it would have a bigger impact on the affected workers.
Labour Deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu has since appealed to all stakeholders to remain calm while a lasting and permanent solution to the problem was being sought.
Mr Mbulu said last evening at a press briefing in his office that his office held a tripartite meeting with KCM management and mine unions as part of consultations and engagement to mitigate the impact of staff outplacement.
He said consultations into the issue would continue on Wednesday next week and that all parties agreed that no further statements would be issued until after the conclusion of the ongoing consultations.
Mr Mbulu said “I would like to inform the nation that I have had a fruitful meeting with KCM management and the unions which was convened this afternoon.
“In the interim it is my request that all stakeholders remain calm as we seek to find a permanent solution on the issue at hand.”
KCM has disclosed that the price of copper on the world market has been steadily declining – by 22 per cent in the last year – and macro-economic trends suggested it would remain depressed as such it would be forced to cut on its workforce.
“At the same time, our two key costs – labour and electricity – have been increasing constantly and substantially” KCM Public Relations Manager Joy Sata said.
Ms Sata said that KCM would make every effort to assist redundant staff find new jobs, both on individual or collective basis to increase economic opportunities in the Copperbelt region and around its facilities.
She however said that workers would for now continue working until the issue was resolved amicably with government and other stakeholders.