Government has warned Mopani Copper Mines against going ahead with its plans to lay off 4,700 mineworkers.
Mines Minister Christopher Yaluma has told journalists in Kasama that government will not allow Mopani to retrench any miner.
He says there is no justification for Mopani to start retrenching workers when the mines in the country are doing fine.
Mr Yaluma has wondered why Mopani is the only mining company refusing to accept to pay the new adjusted electricity tariffs by ZESCO and Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC).
He says it is unsustainable to continue subsidizing electricity supplied to mining companies.
The Mines Minister states that should Mopani Copper Mines insist on retrenching the workers, government action will be grave for the mining company to bear.
Ans the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) has vehemently rejected threats by Mopani Copper Mines to cut 4,700 jobs.
MUZ president Chishimba Nkole has told a media briefing in Lusaka that Mopani should instead cut expatriate jobs.
He says the move by the mining firm appears to be premeditated and aimed at intimidating and blackmailing stakeholders.
Mr Chishimba says it’s unfortunate that workers now appear to BE an easy fix and victims of Mopani and CEC’s failure to negotiate the power supply agreement in good faith.
He has warned of the consequences of the impasse between MCM and CEC on the Copperbelt province, particularly in Kitwe and Mufulira.
Mr Chishimba states that memories are still fresh on redundancies that were made by Mopani in 2015 involving 4,300 workers.
He says the nation cannot afford to lose a further 4,700 mine workers as tHIS will push them into abject poverty.
The MUZ president who is also Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president has since called on government to intervene in the matter.