GOVERNMENT has charged that the sending of employees on recess by Luanshya Mine is illegal because no procedure was followed in the process and has assured the miners in the country that it will not entertain unnecessary job losses in the mining sector.
And the Government has abolished casualisation and decreed that employers should immediately stop terminating the contracts of their workers without giving reasons.
Meanwhile, Government has declared as null and void the increase of mealie meal prices by the Zambia Association of Millers because no fundamental changes in the country’s economy had emerge to warrant the mealie meal price adjustment.
Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili said Cabinet at its 21st meeting at State House on Monday discussed at length the current crisis in the mining sector with regard to the impending job losses.
Mr Kambwili who is chief Government spokesperson said Government was not going to tolerate any mining firm or investor to abrogate the country’s labour laws with impunity by retrenching workers without following labour procedure.
He said the sending of miners on recess by Luanshya Mine and paying them K900 as an allowance was illegal as procedure was not followed.
Mr Kambwili said the Luanshya Mine owners had gone as far as suspending the collective agreement which was signed between the ine management and the employees without renegotiating or consulting the union.
He said Cabinet had decided that a team of five ministers should travel to the Copperbelt today to meet with mine owners and trade unions to discuss the best way to handle the current mining challenges.
Mr Kambwili said Government was working hard to ensure that an amicable solution was found to keep the possible job losses at the bare minimum.
“I want to make it clear that Government will not tolerate any mining firm or investor who will abrogate labour laws with impunity. A case in point is the Luanshya Mine that has decided to send its workers on recess without following procedure. This is illegal as procedure was not followed and to make matters worse, management at the mine decided to suspend the collective agreement without renegotiations or consulting the union. Government wishes to assure miners that no unnecessary job losses will be entertained,” he said.
And Mr Kambwili said Cabinet had approved the Employment Amendment Bill, 2015 which would among things revise the provisions relating to registration of employment agencies and prohibit casualisation.
Mr Kambwili said there had been an outcry from citizens over casualisation and that the Patriotic Front (PF) had promised to address the vice to protect the workers in the country.
He said the Bill was aimed at putting to an end the culture of employers terminating the contracts of their workers without giving reasons.
Mr Kambwili stated that some employers had included in their employees contracts that they reserved the right to terminate the job of their workers without giving reasons, stating that this had come to an end that employers would have to discuss with their employees before terminating the contract.
Meanwhile, the announced increase in the prices of mealie meal by the Millers Association of Zambia has been declared null and void because the country had enough maize.
Mr Kambwili accused the millers of attempting to arm-twist Government but warned that Government was aware of the schemes the millers had against the current administration.
“Cabinet wishes to assure the nation that the price of mealie meal will not increase because all fundamentals in the production line of the staple food had remained unchanged. The Minister of Agriculture has been directed to meet with the millers to communicate the position,’ Mr Kambwili said.