More than 500 employees of Chantete Mining Services in Solwezi are up in arms against their former employer who has reportedly failed to pay them ideal redundancy packages.
The workers said the development had come as a shock because Kansanshi Mine that had contracted Chantete fully paid the company for its services.
The affected employees told the Daily Nation that management of Chantete Mining Services refused to pay them their standard terminal benefits as per agreed conditions of service and labour laws.
But Chantete Mining Services senior human resources manager Mr Humphrey Mambwe denied the allegations, describing them as unwarranted because the company had followed the law in awarding the affected employees their terminal benefits.
Mr Mambwe said the more than 500 employees of Chantete Mining Services were declared redundant after Kansanshi Mine terminated its one year contract with the mine. The workers who spoke on condition of anonymity said their fear was that they would be losing their jobs without proper benefits as the Chantete Mining Services had refused to pay them their benefits they were entitled to.
The workers said their union had been having meetings with management of Chantete Mining Services but that there was resistance on the part of management to honour its obligations.They said management had reduced their conditions of service to prolata to avoid paying the workers gratuity which they were entitled to.
“Chantete is planning to retrench the more than 500 workers without paying them their terminal benefits. Management has refused to pay us our gratuity and they have reduced our conditions of service to prolata and as employees we have objected to the proposal,
“The prolata conditions will take away our gratuity which we are entitled to. There is a danger that we may leave employment with amounts as low as K3,000 as terminal benefits for people who have worked for more than three years,” the workers said.
The workers have appealed to government to intervene because the more than 500 families would be thrown into destitution should Chantete Mining Services go ahead and implement the prolata conditions in calculating terminal benefits. Kansanshi Mine terminated its contract with Chantete Mining Services and the company in turn decided to lay off more than 500 workers who were expected to be out of employment by July 16.
But Mr Mambwe said it was surprising that the affected workers were rushing to the media instead of seeking advice from their union representatives, adding that the company did not breach any labour laws in preparing the redundancy packages for the affected workers. Mr Mambwe said all the vexing labour challenges had been fairly dealt with and that the employees who were complaining about their terminal benefits did not understand the labour laws.