Chinese mine sacks 2,000 striking Zambian workersBy ELIAS MBAO in Lusaka | Thursday, October 20 2011 at 14:48
A Chinese mining firm has sacked 2,000 Zambian miners following a two-week strike over pay dispute, a management notice confirmed.
The workers were demanding a 100 per cent salary increment.
Zambia has been rocked by strikes at various firms, especially Chinese and Indian-owned, after newly-elected President Michael Sata proposed an upward adjustment of the minimum wage from the current $84.
“Following the memorandum issued yesterday (October 18, 2011) asking you to report for work today 19th October, 2011 and your subsequent refusal to obey, you are all summarily dismissed with immediate (effect),” read a notice issued by Non-Ferrous China Africa (NFCA) chief executive officer Wang Chunlai and contractor’s managing director Zhang Jun to the workers.
Mr Wang and Mr Zhang informed the workers in the notice that: “You have the right to appeal in 48 hours. Your leave days accrued will be paid to you by the month end of November 2011.”
Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) officials were due to meet the employees and management at the Chinese firm Thursday over the sackings.
“We are going there for a meeting and will only issue a statement afterwards,” said Oswell Munyenyembe, MUZ secretary general.
Workers have been on strike for about 15 days demanding that their salaries be increased to about $400 after government told them that it had negotiation for that salary adjustment with management.
Mr Wang said management had offered a $40 salary increment across the board, pending negotiations with the union, but the pro-ruling party slogan-chanting workers rejected the increase and described it as “an insult”.
The mine, which had about 3,000 workers before the sackings, said the two-week ‘illegal’ strike had cost the firm about $3.8 million in copper production.
Labour minister Fackson Shamenda and his deputy’s phone went unanswered, when contacted for comment on the mass sacking of the miners.
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