Mopani using workers as relief valve-MUZ

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By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Mine workers Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) says it will not support mining firms that resort to job cuts every time their operational costs go up.

Speaking in an interview in Kitwe MUZ President Joseph Chewe said  the trend to  by mining companies to always resort to retrenchment in the sector whenever operational costs goes up is worrisome and needs to be stopped.

Mr Chewe said that if the trend is left uncheck they won’t be any job opportunities for the citizens in the mining sector.

“As MUZ we have noticed a trend in which mining companies mining are always quick to fix their work force every time their operational costs go up. This is not good as mining companies they have the moral responsibility to return or employ workers in the sector,’’ he said.

He said it unfortunate that every time there is an increment in electricity and fuel in the country, mining companies are quick to target their employees.

He said there need for mine owners to seek audience with government who are always ready to hear them out to find a lasting solution than going the easy way of fixing workers.

He said the union will not support any job cuts in the sector due to the new tax regime proposed by government adding that mining companies should instead resolve the issues of taxes with government unlike targeting the workers.

Mr Chewe urged government to remain firm and not allow any job losses over tax changes and the metal prices on the international market are stable.

“Government has a huge responsibility to collect taxes from the mines to meet its obligations such as building schools, Hospitals and pay civil servants among others.

“Over 40 workers at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) have been retrenched so far and contrary to what has been reported on social media,” he said.

Yesterday Mopani announced that in October this year the company had launched a voluntary separation exercise for employees who wish to take a voluntary separation package or go on early retirement.

This is in its continued quest of reviewing the costs throughout the life cycle of its operation to ensure that the company can continue to operate efficiently, safely, and sustainable in the face of the current high operational costs.