Mopani Smelter in Mufulira
Mopani Smelter in Mufulira

MOPANI Copper Mines (MCM) has allegedly indicated its intentions of laying-off more than 4,000 of the more than 7,000 unionized workers because of increased load-shedding, low copper prices at the London Metal Exchange and the depreciation of the Kwacha.

But the four Mine workers unions have objected to the lay-off, saying it was too big a number and if they were laid-off, it would worsen poverty levels in the country.

Speaking at a joint press briefing at Katilungu House in Kitwe yesterday, Mine worker Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Nkole Chishimba said during a meeting with Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) management in Kitwe yesterday that the mining company indicated it wanted to lay-off more than 4,000 miners

The press briefing was also attended by the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) president James Chansa, United Miners Union of Zambia (UMUZ) president Wisdom Ngwira MUZ and Zambia United Nurses Organization (ZUNO) officials.

“As you know, the mining industry is now full of activities and it is important that through you, the media, we inform the public or the nation of what is happening. We also wish to inform you of the position of the union regarding what is happening in the industry.

“We have been holding a series of meetings with Mopani regarding the future of our members and how Mopani plans to handle or manage the crisis in this time of low copper prices, load-shedding and depreciation of the Kwacha. So when we went for a meeting this morning, we were told that they intend to lay-off 4, 000 miners,” Mr Chishimba said

But Mr Chishimba said the four unions in the mining industry objected to the laying-off of more than 4,000 miners because such a move would worsen poverty levels in the country.

He also said laying-off more than 4,000 miners would leave a devastating and indelible scar in the lives of men and women who have worked hard to develop the mining industry.

“As unions in the mining industry, we have objected to the intentions of Mopani to lay-off more than 4,000 miners and we think there is a better way of handling this crisis than laying-off such a big number of miners.

“If these miners are laid off, they are not guaranteed that they will be recalled once the situation improves. So if they are laid off, it will leave them devastated. So for us, as a union, job losses are the last option. As partners, they are not supposed to inform us about job losses, but engage us and respect our response and suggestions or views,” Mr Chishimba said.

He said Government should be action oriented on issues of job losses in the mining industry, instead of just assuring miners that they will never be job losses when mining companies were planning to lay-off miners.

“Government must intervene and be action oriented in dealing with the problem of impending job losses in the mining companies, instead of just assuring that there will be no job losses when mining companies are planning to lay-off workers.

“We expect government to bring mining companies and unions together to find a solution to the problem. As a union, we are trying our best and Government must do its best in intervening in the problem,” He said.

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17 COMMENTS

    • PF and Lungu are purely to blame for this mess in the mines. Had PF not stolen Eurobond money and instead invested it in increasing power generating capacity all these problems would not be existing.

      Copperbelt open your eyes and vote UPND a party with a credible plan to revive the dying mining sector by investing more money in power generating capacity so that load shedding done away with.

      Only UPND will save Zambia from this mess caused by PF.

      2016 vote UPND.

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    • Fintu fyangula.Sing again ati nifwe bene twaishiba Fintu Lungu.We shall see if your Lungu will pay the school fees for your children,or pay for drugs in Hospital.Bafontini think that when you vote for relative if when he is a thief and dull you can leave a better life.Open your eyes you don’t need to know the president but you can benefit from his good policies.

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    • The solution is simple … IDC does a hostile takeover of these mines, send all their expertriates back to their home countries. Expertriate emoluments alone are over 45% of the entire operating costs for most of these mines.

      In short, we get rid of the largest wage bill at the top and keep the 4,000 employed who are actually the ones producing the actual commodity. The upper echelon are nothing but a huge burden on production costs. In fact, a critical analysis of the entire payroll shows that removing all expertriate income from the Income Statement would actually have a zero sum effect on keeping the 4,000 local employees.

      We have enough educated Zambians who would immediately take over from all expertriates at 1% of the cost these expertriates are taking. With that we would have…

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    • Continued …

      With that we keep producing the commodity while keeping production costs low above break-even and we increase revenues to IDC since we no longer have to externalize profits abroad, increase our own real GDP while averting a huge disaster of massive unemployment.

      So, if I were President & CEO of the Zambian Enterprise I would instruct IDC to start preparing for a transition, ask the Ministry of Home Affairs to start preparing paperwork to terminate all work permits of all expertriates aligned with the mining industry.

      Ask the Ministry of Commerce to start advertising for new positions and potential new JV Partners who would adhere to the new conditions while keeping production going. We would increase our own profits since nothing gets externalized anymore … thanks…

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  1. These mines are a business and their interests are first.So ninshi these useless unions want the mines to be operational even when they are not making much? These toothless unions must just keep quiet

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  2. US$5000 per tonne is not a bad price. The problem is when copper prices reach $7000 or more per tonne, these mines bring in all loafers from South Africa to come and get the dollar from here. In addition, the govt just gives work permits corruptly to every foreign loafer to come and work in Zambia. This drives the costs sky high and cannot sustain a mine at the current prices.

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  3. The Kwacha depreciation is a factor in favor of Mopani and, as such, it makes no sense for them to use it as a reason. With the Kwacha depreciation, they are using fewer $’s to pay salaries!

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  4. Yes guys, at one unnamed mine, a white Namibian was a front end loader driver, on a salary of $85 000/a tax free, as the tax was paid by the company + bonus of up to 30% of basic + shares in the company, equating to another 15% of basic. Bonus and shares were performance related. I’ve given the upper limits that are attainable.

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  5. Mopani,
    Go ahead and lay off the people. You are running a business not a charity. These people should have thought twice prior to voting these clowns back into government. The Population had an opportunity to rectify a bad decision yet this was not the case. More money in your pocket has morphed into NO money in your pocket.

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    • Thats foolish thinking iwe chimutonga don’t you know that this is going to affect you as well if mupani have failed to do business let them go,MAZOKA DID THE SAME WITH ANGLO AMERICA WE Know your tricks you massons .

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    • Thats foolish thinking iwe chimutonga don’t you know that this is going to affect you as well if mupani have failed to do business let them go,MAZOKA DID THE SAME WITH ANGLO AMERICA WE Know your tricks you massons .the gov’t will take over we are praying God is on our side.

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  6. ….the reasons advanced are a suspect and ridiculous…..how does depreciation of Kwacha affect the mines….infact they celebrate when the Kwacha falls….it take just a few thousands of dollars to pay the employees…they would buy the same amount of Kwacha with less dollars…
    …4000 ot of 7000 is as good as shutting down the mines…
    …this is just a ploy to hoodwink the public that such a thing is about to happen and yet not…..the trick is…. the govt would look like they will come out strong to stop the rot just to win the praise and sympathy of the masses…..

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  7. awe people crisis is every where apoo south africa alelila what more zambia lets just pray to the lord to revive our economy

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  8. What Can We Do Now Who Can Be Our Perfect Leader Coz Am Not Seeing Any Sence In These Leading Us Who Can Be The Best Leader We Can Choose Of Them All?

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  9. Comment:The economy of Zambia is largely dependent on Copper,although of th recent the government is diversifying the economy from copper production to Agriculture. One point that is clear is that if these investors are complaining of load shedding, depreciation of kwacha and the high cost of doing business, the doors are open, they can leave to other countries where they can continue their mining, my opinion is that Zambian people are capable of managing th mines since everything is done by them underground, with all the risks involved. We are able to increase production,export and improve our roads, our currency, our hospitals, living standards, reduce unemployment and increase our GDP which would subsequently result in th reduction of the inflation rates.

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