Labour Minister Brenda Tambatamba has assured mine unions that her ministry will address all the labour bottlenecks to ensure increased production in the mining sector.
Ms. Tambatamba said the Ministry has developed a computerized Labour Information System which will help to detect and address all labour issues.
Speaking when she met mine workers union leaders in Kitwe yesterday, Ms. Tambatamba said she will not allow Zambian workers to remain in unlawful short contractual jobs and to be getting less salaries than their foreign co-workers.
She said foreign investors in the mining sectors should comply with prescribed international labour laws and avoid racial segregation on workers.
Ms. Tambatamba was responding to miner workers union leaders who complained of various unfair treatment of workers by Chinese owned mining companies.
Some of the concerns the union leaders raised include disparities in salary rates between Zambian and Chinese workers, placement of Zambian workers on one year contractual jobs for positions that are permanent, lack of respect for salary negotiations by employers, non-compliance to NAPSA and Workers Compensation contributions and the general low salaries for workers among several other issues.
And Ms. Tambatamba has disclosed that government has availed K11 billion to pay off 600,000 eligible workers under the National Pensions Scheme (NAPSA) following the enactment of the National Pensions Amendment Act No.1 of 2023 that allows partial withdrawal.
She said a further K5.4 billion is also available under Zambia National Pensions Fund (ZNPF).
Ms. Tambatamba explained that money is available and workers can immediately start accessing it.
The Minister further explained that the percent that can be withdrawn is only 20 to enable NAPSA to continue with other investments.
”As a listening leader the President Hakainde Hichilema has honoured his promise, some people were saying it is not possible, NAPSA cannot manage to pay the workers but here we are, we have done it, as union leaders now tell your members to access the money and use it to make some investments,” she said.
Earlier when Ms. Tambatamba paid a courtesy call on Kitwe District Commissioner Lawrence Mwanza
And Labour Commissioner Givens Muntengwa noted that union Leaders contributed to the poor conditions of service for workers because they concentrate more on their interests and not of workers.
And Kalulushi District Commissioner Kelly Jibinga asked the Minister to consider sending labour officers to Kalulushi to be handling labour issues.
Mr. Jibinga explained that he is made to handle labour issues when he has little knowledge on labour matters.