Government has directed Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to stop the transfer of 1,000 employees to its contractors until negotiations with the unions are concluded.
Speaking during a joint media briefing Chief Government Spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga says government will only will only intervene in the matter when the two parties have finalized their discussions.
Ms Mulenga has explained that KCM had consulted the ministry of labour and social security on the outsourcing of certain services in their operations and requested that some workers be seconded to some contractors.
She says the ministry, however, advised that issues bordering on the transfer of unionized workers be discussed with the unions in line with the various recognition agreements.
And Labour Minister Joyce Nonde is appalled at reports reaching her office regarding the transfer of the 1,000 workers to contractors.
She says it is illegal for any investor to take action on its employees before the negotiations are concluded.
Ms Nonde says if the reports regarding the impasse are indeed true, then the mining giant has broken the law.
She says such reports are recipe for anarchy, adding that KCM should follow the laws of the country.
Early today, KCM released the statement below to the media
CHINGOLA, 26 September 2017, Konkola
Copper Mines (KCM) has been in consultations with the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Mines, the local Area Members of Parliament and the National Union on the contractor outsourcing matter for some time now.
The parties concluded that KCM would proceed to outsource contractors for the benefit of improving productivity at the Company.
Although employees would be under the management supervision of specialized contractors they would continue to remain KCM employees.
Therefore, there will be no job losses as a consequence of outsourcing and all employees would continue to enjoy full KCM conditions of service.
Contrary to reports that KCM has seconded over 1, 000 employees to contractors, KCM would like to state that no such move has taken place.
KCM remains committed to working with all the stakeholders including Government, Labour Unions and all employees in ensuring sustained security of employment.
Konkola Copper Mines PLC
And the Government released the statement below in response
Republic of Zambia
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services
JOINT STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING SERVICES AND CHIEF GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSON, HON. KAMPAMBA MULENGA AND MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY, HON. JOYCE NONDE ON THE TRANSFER OF MINERS AT KONKOLA COPPER MINES
27th September, 2017
Good afternoon members of the press.
Arising from a misconception from some quarters that Government has allowed the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) management to transfer 1000 employees to its contractors, Government would like to put the record straight.
KCM had consulted the Ministry of Labour and Social Security on outsourcing certain services in their operations and requested that some workers be seconded to some of their contractors.
The Ministry advised that any issues bordering on the transfer of unionised workers to the contractors be discussed with the unions in line with their various recognition agreements.
Government wants to stress that it is the unions that negotiate with the employer, and Government only comes in when the unions upscale the matter to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security where there is an impasse.
In the issue at hand, the Unions, and management are still in negotiations.
KCM and the unions were further advised that should a collective dispute arise from their interaction or discussion then provisions of Part IX of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act 269 of the Laws of Zambia dealing with settlement of disputes should apply.
Although, both management and the unions are at liberty to make consultations with the Labour Commissioner on specific request for guidance.
However, as the Minister of Mines, Hon. Christopher Yaluma put it, KCM were told to reverse the transfer of 4,000 employees before concluding negotiations with the unions.
As far as Government is concerned, KCM agreed to abide by the directive to reverse all the transfers that it had already made before discussions with the unions.
Of course outsourcing is not illegal but KCM can only outsource if the contractor has an employment licence and abides by the provisions of section 56 of the Employment Amendment Act No. 15 of 2015 which deals with employment agency permits and this can only be done after negotiations between management and the unions.
So KCM are hereby reminded again to stop those transfers if they have started effecting them before conclusion of discussions and we urge both parties to sit and negotiate matters that relate to outsourcing.