STATEMENT ON MOPANI COPPER MINE’S DEMAND FOR GRADE 12 CERTIFICATES FROM EX-MINERS AND THE NATIONAL UNION OF METALWORKERS OF SOUTH AFRICA
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security is alarmed by reports that Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) is demanding for Grade 12 certificates from the 300 workers the mining company retrenched in 2015 as a condition for re-engagement.
This demand is not only unfortunate but unfair on the part of the former workers who diligently served the Mining Company for a long time.
We are alive to the fact that the mining sector has different jobs which require different qualifications and competences as prescribed in the job descriptions.
As Government, we therefore, have no problem with the mining firm asking for the Grade 12 certificates from former employees who were earlier engaged using that qualification and if that is the requirement in their job descriptions.
Mindful of the fact that management can make its own decisions, Government will, however, not accept a situation where this requirement is extended even to employees whose jobs do not require that qualification.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security, therefore, wishes to appeal to management at Mopani to rescind this decision and re-engage the company’s former employees without attaching such harsh and discriminatory conditions.
We also wish to advise management to always strive at making decisions that do not create unnecessary frictions.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will be closely following events at MCM to ensure that management does the right thing and that order prevails.
We also wish to sincerely commend the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and the National Ex-Miners and Allied Workers Association of Zambia (NEAWAZ) for taking the initiative to engage MCM management on the matter.
Meanwhile, we take great exception to the alleged proposal by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) to launch a campaign to boycott Zambian goods and end South Africa trade with Zambia if the perceived harassment of Mr. Fred M’membe and his wife Mutinta continues.
As the Ministry responsible for all labour related issues including Trade Unions operating in the country, we find the position taken by NUMSA through its General Secretary Mr. Irvin Jim, not only strange but malicious.
We are convinced that the misinformed and ill-conceived position by NUMSA is a failed attempt which was calculated to strain the cordial and warm relations that exist between the sister Republics of Zambia and South Africa.
Mr. Jim and his orgnaisation are advised to learn to consult local institutions before making statements that do not only bring into disrepute the name and leadership of the union but also interferes with the sovereignty of Zambia as a nation.
The Ministry is left to wonder on what could have motivated Mr. Jim and his organisation to comment on a matter that has absolutely nothing to do the interest group the organisation represents in South Africa.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security will soon write to the South African Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to officially complain against NUMSA and Mr. Jim.
We, therefore, wish to commend the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the National Union of Public and Private Educators of Zambia (NUPPEZ) for rising to the occasion to defend the sovereignty of the country and its institutions.
PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
MINISTRY OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY