By Nchimunya Miyoba
About 600 direct employees of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) at Mindola North and central shafts will be laid off by the closure of the two shafts.
And 1500 contractors to be affected by the closure of the two shafts.
Mineworkers Union of Zambai President Joseph Chewe said the unions have been informed of closure by MCM Management citing high operation all costs.
Speaking during a joint press briefing with other mine unions at Katilungu house in Kitwe today, said the unions will not allow workers to be offloaded in such a manner.
Mr Chewe charged that with the closure of the two shafts starting month will not affect employees but contractors as well contractors adding that it is saddening to note that retrenchment in the mining sector have became the order of the day.
He 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.
Mr Chewe expressed disappointment that from the time MCM took over the operations of the mines on the Copperbelt in 2003, they company has laid off thousands of workers through voluntary separation and retrenchment.
Mr disclosed that Moapani has informed government on the impending job loses in the mine that will effective next month.
“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, he said.
And National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW)President James Chansa said the unions will not be part of Mopani Copper Mines decision to layoff workers adding that investment at the expense of workers is not good investment as it will disadvantage zambians working in the mines.
Mr Chansa noted that the Unions been the representatives of the workers will not allow the mining company to cut workforce.
Mr Chansa charged that Zambia is a mining economy and that benefits should go to the Zambian people.
He said alot of of investment has been made in the mining sector and that it is worrying to not that people have continued to lose jobs despite huge investments.
He added that decisions meant to reduce labour will not be taken lightly by the unions as they have a mandate to protect workers rights.p
Meanwhile United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMUZ) Wisdom Ngwira said in a move by Mopani to do away with the old infrastructure there is need to deploy the 600 workers affected to other areas within the company.