About 600 direct employees of Mopani Copper Mines at Mindola North and Central shafts will be laid off following Mopani’s announcement to close the two shafts.
And 1500 contractors to be affected by the closure of the two shafts.
Speaking at a joint media briefing in Kitwe, Mine Workers Union of Zambia President Joseph Chewe said Mopani Copper Mines has informed the three unions in the mining sector and the Zambian government of its plan to shut down its two mine shafts citing high operation costs.
Mr. Chewe said the closure of the two shafts will affect over 1500 contractors.
He said the union is sad that retrenchments have become the order of the day.
Mr. Chewe noted that Mopani has indicated to the unions that the closure of the two shafts will be done in phases from June to October 2019.
The MUZ President said he is disappointed that from the time Mopani took over operations of the mines on the Copperbelt in 2003, the company has laid off thousands of workers through voluntary separation and retrenchment.
“The company has told us that 600 will be affected if they don’t find areas to deploy them. This also means that contractors will also have to go. According to our sources about 1500 contractors will be affected by the shafts closure,” Mr Chansa said.
At the same briefing, National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) President James Chansa said the unions will not be part of Mopani’s decision to lay off workers.
Mr Chansa said investment at the expense of workers is not good as it will disadvantage Zambians working in the mines.
He said the Unions will not allow the mining company to cut workforce.
And United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) Wisdom Ngwira suggested that said the 600 workers affected should be deployed to other areas within the company.