Lafarge Zambia refutes worker abuse allegations at its Ndola plant

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Lafarge Zambia has moved swiftly to deny reports that workers at its Ndola plant are subjected to intimidation, harassment and physical abuse by a Plant Manager of Indian origin.

Reports have emerged that Mr. Samba Katari, the newly appointed Plant Manager at Lafarge Ndola has created a hostile working environment by firing a number of Zambian workers and forcing some to resign out of frustration.

It is further alleged that Mr Katari has cancelled all supplier contracts owned by Zambians and replaced them with that of Indian businesses.

Further allegations are that the Plant Manager also terminated the contract of the mineral water supplier and replaced it with a new and unknown brand called Skydrop water which is said to be untreated tap water.

“He uses bad language to employees, his fellow managers and visitors. The union has been approached on several occasions over the matter but it seems the Lusaka management protects him.
Recently, he insulted a lady working for the contractor who later reported him to the police. He refused to go when summoned which made police follow him and apprehended him from his office, the case is still on,” the source said.

“On another incident, he followed our colleague a quality manager Mr. Austin Kaluwe to his hospital bed and began shouting that he was just pretending and lazy and insulting him in the presence of his wife, the wife reported to the hospital management and this sadist was sent away, the man died two days later.”

The source alleged that the Plant Manager is busy laying off workers by giving them flimsy charges adding that from the time he came, a lot of people have lost their jobs.

The source added that Mr Katari has worsened the conditions for the two remaining contractors offering engineering services to the plant saying contractor employees are now receiving about K400 to K700 as monthly salaries.

“He removed and fired a qualified medical practitioner and left an unqualified one to run the plant clinic so that he can by controlling her. He did the same in accounts and purchasing departments. All items bought at the plant now are of Indian origin. He ruthlessly removed an employee from a company house situated along Chikola road in Itawa and later sold it to his fellow Indian,” they claimed.

The source also alleged that Mr Katari is busy bragging that the government cannot do anything to him because of the Easter Lungu Lafarge Foundation which he claims has connected him to top government officials.

“Our appeal to the Minister of Home affairs Mr Kampyongo, the Minister of Labor and the Managing Director is for you to intervene in the matters at Ndola plant before a lot of people lose their jobs and the plant brought down to its knees.”

But when reached for a comment, Lafarge Zambia Communications and Corporate Affairs Manager Glenda Masebe-Kamalata denied the allegations.

Mrs. Kamalata said preliminary investigations were conducted to verify the allegations but did not find any evidence to support such allegations.

She said Lafarge takes this kind of allegations very seriously and that the company has a strong commitment to human rights and integrity.

“We promote an open culture where everybody feels secure in seeking advice or raising concerns. We also recognize that we have a responsibility to be an example in our industry, when it comes to corporate behavior,” Mrs. Kamalata said.

She added, “Any problem should be reported to management and each employee can make use of the Lafarge integrity line that allows allegations to be reported anonymously.”

On the issue of workers drinking untreated tap water, Mrs. Kamalata said the Ndola Plant found out that its water supplier was not operating in accordance with the Zambia Bureau of Standards and that the contract has since been terminated and the process to engage a different water supplier in underway.

“Excluding this water contract, there has no major change in our list of suppliers recently,” she said.

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22 COMMENTS

  1. These foreigners are really having a field day mistreating Zambian workers. These things are real bane. The abuse is a daily thing

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    • That’s why you find some nationalities call Zambians by their colour. Others say Zambians are mavros

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    • Please throw this stup1d Indian out of Zambia. Black people have no say whatsoever in India. They’re treated like trash. Obviously this guy wants to bring the same racist stup1d attitude to Zambia. Throw him out now!!!!

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  2. all in this article is true, management cant agree, they protect him but all this is true. employee who was removed from company house is kenneth mushinji, contractors are poorly paid sometimes after 3months, he caused the death of austin kaluwe, he buys dirty water from his fellow indian.
    he insults us anyhow he wishes, call us animals monkeys who cant think. we will harm this fool if he is not removed from ndola.
    we are divided in ndola because of this fools divide and rule policy.
    infact the writer of the article left alot of things about this indian fool. nabamushamo chikamba

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  3. Glenda is a liar, no investigations where done by Lusaka management, evidence is available.
    this Glenda thing is new in the company, she doesn’t know anything.
    madam u better shut up, we don’t even know, weve never seen u, u must be two months old in lafarge. wait, u will go disappointed like others of your status.

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  4. Zambians should really stop promoting the recolonisation of our land.KK and our other freedom fighters fought very hard to liberate us but look at us now ;inviting it within our borders in other forms…Chinese,Indians,South Africans are given preference over our own people.Where on earth can you find such st.upidity

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  5. I feel the survey was not done adequately,surely how can all those accusations be negative,something is not right.
    So will advise may be this newspaper to go and see the wife to the late Mr Austin Kaluwe and find out if he never went to shout at her husband.And why was the survey done in lusaka to GLENDA who is based lusaka?
    Also call the lady who was abused and later reported him to the police,so that you can hear from the horses mouth.
    And too ask in person the gentleman who was removed from the house like a criminal.
    Therefore, i still feel this survey needs to be done on ndola plant employees only not those from lusaka.
    And if need arises find out the way about of the guys who were fired especially the maintenance manager and production manager so that there side of the story…

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  6. One day this is going to end very badly. Do not be surprised if Zambians start beating up these foreigners.

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  7. All points in this article is true. The man has really killed the confidence of the employees and morale is at an all time low. The man does not listen to anyone whether he is being advised correctly. He is too emotional and lacks leadership qualities. He has really destroyed Lafarge Ndola Plant with his poor decisions and tendency of doing shortcuts. As a company which prides itself for Safety, this man is the complete opposite as he has little regard for it. We have failed to understand how Lusaka management are not doing anything about it. It seems they are just turning a blind eye to the plight of Ndola because it is impossible for them not see how this man has destroyed our Plant.

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  8. Sad indeed, we are slowly eroding back to colonial days we used to read and hear from our parents. This time around we are colonized by not only whites but different races of people as long as they have invested in Zambia.
    Our government should do something, they are also supposed to change the approach of attracting investors to Zambia, many are the times when we see them on National television begging Investors to think of putting their monies in Zambia. These same investors are the ones who are insulting beating and sometimes harassing our ladies “like the boer at Manda Hill” whose case was under the courts of Law.
    We are fed up of ill treatment from the bazungus and Asians, it was only a few months ago when we were shown our poor fellow Zambians whom the owner of the company used…

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  9. Samba Katari is a terror at the Ndola plant. He only wants to work with bootlickers who don’t challenge him on the shady deals he does with his fellow Indians and doesn’t want anyone who asks him to be respectifull to employees. He frustrated Mungonyinga Mungonyinga a good Works Engineer. Everyday he would berate him in front of everyone and later pushed for the poor guy to be transferred to Lusaka. He has since resigned and joined Zambia Breweries. He has given one of his bootlickers two positions and promoted him twice in six months when there are so many Engineers in the plant. He has no respect for Zambian contractors and Glenda does not know what she is talking about. Morale and production at the Ndola plant is low and with Samba around with his treatment of Zambians, production…

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  10. …production will never improve. The experts currently doing a plant audit are just wasting their time as production will never improve with Samba around and his lack of respect for employees and only wanting to work with bootlickers. Plant shutdowns at the Ndola plant are always done haphazardly because the mwenye sits on all purchase orders given to Zambian suppliers and contractors and only signs the orders when there is a breakdown.

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  11. These Indians, when they come they are humble, but once their work permits are issued, you see their true colours. I wish we had immigration officers like the ones on the Australian Border Security tv series. Those people truelly protect their land from chuff like Asians.

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  12. I never worked with a stupid and abusive manager like Katari. The only problem is that he has too much backing from top management and no matter how much you complain, the top management don’t do anything. That’s the reason people have resorted to go to press.

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  13. Zambians we need to learn to stand up for each other, the story comes out and within 24hrs investigations, have already been concluded, how? If you don’t stand up for each other, who do you think will do it for you? Intimidation, victimization, instilling fear in employees is the order of the day,how do you expect to have a motivated and vibrant workforce in such an environment . Zambia is ours, we need not live like refugees in our own country. “Stand up and sing of Zambia Proud and Free? “

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  14. Lafarge is a public limited company and that alone means something. The press, specially the business press, are enough to bring them to behave and examine this Indian manager. Employment law and case law can bring this chap to book. It is a failure of African diplomacy as well so if governments will not work for their people, what chance the press? African countries have diplomatic representation in India but still Africans are badly treated there. I will repeat the question I have asked before: What is African diplomacy for? Is it just for organising banquets during so-called joint permanent commissions?

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  15. I know the chap samba.He is just a stupid guy who came with nothing. what verification do you need.Our own zambian managers are the most useless to allow to be used.

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Comments are closed.