By NCHIMUNYA MIYOBA
Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) says the multiplicity of unions in the country has posed a big problem in consolidating a collective voice of workers due to various interest and priorities of the unions.
MUZ General Secretary George Mumba said the mushrooming of unions in the mining sector has led to the weakening the voice of the workers as employers are taking advantage of the divisions in the mining industry.
Officiating at a seminar on strengthening social justice in the mining industry with multinationals held at Endiburgh Hotel organised by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Mr Mumba said it is worrying that the mushrooming of the unions amid depleting membership has given multinationals companies to come up with cost saving measures while maximising their profit margins.
“Today the employer is having a field day due to the divisions that are being created by the formation of more unions in the mining industry. This has weakened the voice of the worker to the advantage of the employer,” he said.
He said despite being every worker’s right to belong to a union of their choice, there is need for workers to be wary of splinter unions that are coming up and reject selfish individuals whose motives is to suppress the collective efforts of speaking with one strong voice on issues affecting the mining industry.
And Mr Mumba said there are currently eight unions in the mining industry with two more pending confirmation at the Ministry of Labour.
And FES Resident Representative Fritz Peter Kopsiekesr said existing unions in the mining sector should team up and push the agenda of ensuring that worker’s interest are protected.
Mr Kopsiekesr said the coming together will put a stop on multinationals taking advantage of the current divisions that employers taking to negotiate in their own interest.