Mining giant Konkola Copper Mines say the work stoppage by miners at its Konkola underground mine in Chililabombwe is illegal.
Operations at KCM’s Business units in Chililabombwe have been paralysed after workers refused to enter the main gates into the plants demanding salary adjustments
But KCM Spokesman Shapi Shachinda revealed that only a handful of miners took part in the work stoppage.
Mr Shachinda said KCM values the cordial relations which exist between the workforce, the unions and management.
“Since 2014, KCM has faced challenges related to the low copper price and the higher cost of power. These challenges have been explained to employees and other stakeholders in numerous forums. Despite these external factors, many initiatives have been implemented to successfully manage down the overall cost of production,” he said.
Mr Shachinda said KCM regrets that a handful of employees at the Konkola underground mine in Chililabombwe have decided to go on an illegal work stoppage demanding increases in pay.
He said this is in contravention of labour laws since wage negotiations are still underway between management and the unions and no dispute has been declared.
“Management has engaged the employees and their representatives urging them to return to work immediately. Management will continue to engage workers’ representatives to find a lasting solution to the problems the company is facing,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from the Mine Workers Union of Zambia but some of the affected miners interviewed said among other things they are complaining is the lack of proper treatment and medicines.
They said Doctors at the Mine Hospital are now leaving in preference to Government hospitals, while Indian expatriates are now seeking treatment at the new mini Indian African Medicare Services Limited hospital in Chingola.
The miners are also unhappy about the decision by KCM increase school fees in Trust schools while salaries for its employees had remained the same for four years.
KCM has been facing numerous financial challenges which has seen the mining giant fail to pay contractors and suppliers mostly Zambians owned firms on time.
KCM Zambian senior staff were not paid their Christmas bonus and their December salaries but all Indians expatriates were paid their salaries and bonuses in full.