THE Southern Africa Resource Watch says it expects Konkola Copper Mines, the minework- ers unions and the government to work towards guaranteeing security of the jobs of 2,000 employees that were earmarked for a massive layoff.
KCM recently expressed intentions to lay off 2,000 permanent employees, citing high production costs, to which the government objected and the firm u-turned on the plans.
In a statement, SARW country campaign officer Edward Lange commended the three mine workers unions for the mature and responsible manner through which, together with the government line ministries, they worked to ensure that the planned retrenchment at Konkola Copper Mines does not go on.
"The labour movement must now be extra alert and monitor the behaviour of KCM regarding its relationship with the many subcontractors, whose contracts have not been renewed.
According to a quick mapping exercise undertaken in Chililabombwe and Chingola districts to examine the impact of such, it is clear that indirectly the operators of KCM have gone ahead getting rid of the many sub-contractors whose staff in most cases are youthful members of the community," Lange stated.
He stated that dialogue could give positive results but certain actions were avoidable. Lange stated that in as much as it was appreciated that the 2000 permanent workers were now safe, SARW was concerned about the many sub contracted companies' fate. "Let KCM look beyond business and include the welfare of the host community in relation to how much wealth has been extracted from their land, just by continuing being a pillar of the local economy in the affected locations," Lange sated.
He stated that the labour movements should not go to sleep but get to work and ensure that their members see the real benefits of belonging to unions,continuously and effectively communicating with both management and their members adding that in the extractive industries, time was of paramount importance as the country was dealing with extraction of diminishing assets, which could finish anytime and the country could be left referring to history. "As civil society, we have a moral obligation to ensure that the right information reaches the host communities and in good time and as such we shall continue with our dialogue with the government line ministries and with the operators through the chamber of mines, so as to ensure that there is harmony in the manner that business is done in this sector and support the concept of job creation through the exploitation of the available mineral resources for the benefit of the local citizens," stated Lange.