President Michael Sata has threatened to revoke the mining licence of Zambia’s largest copper mining company, Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) should the mining firm proceed to implement its decision to lay off more than 1,500 workers.
Speaking before the commencement of cabinet meeting at State House yesterday, President Sata said he would decree that the mining licence of KCM was revoked if the mining company retrenched even a single employee.
President Sata has warned KCM chief executive officer Kishore Kumar against exploiting Zambians stating that government was aware that KCM was planning to use blackmail following the revocation of SI 89.
“These mining companies want to be exporting copper concentrates to avoid paying taxes and Shamenda, please go and tell Kumar that we will take away his licence if he lays off even one worker. We will take away his licence from him and that is the easy way we can lay him off,” President Sata said.
And former Patriotic Front (PF) Copperbelt Provincial Youth Secretary Chanda Kabwe has blamed the opposition for the decision taken by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to lay-off more than 1,500 workers.
Kabwe said he had information that KCM had hired some individuals from a named opposition political party to do some consultancy work and these were the people encouraging KCM to make wrong decisions that would negatively affect the Zambian workers like the laying off of more than 1,500 workers announced by the giant mining company.
On Friday, last week KCM Chief Executive Officer, Kishore Kumar announced that 1,529 workers may be out-placed following the company’s decision to mechanize its operations in its mines.
But, Kabwe said KCM was working with the opposition political figures who wanted to make the ruling PF government unpopular by laying off Zambians unfairly from their jobs so that the opposition political leaders could gain cheap political mileage.
“I tend to wonder why only KCM is having problems in terms of its operations as compared to other mining companies elsewhere in the country such that the only tangible solution to them is to lay off more than 1500 workers. This will be a blow to the families of the people who will lose employment.
“This is very devastating and we know that KCM is working with a named opposition political party to make these wrong decisions. We have information that KCM has hired some individuals from a named opposition political party to do some consultancy work and these were the people encouraging KCM to make wrong decisions that would negatively affect the Zambian workers like the laying off of the 1,500 workers announced by the giant mining company,” Mr Kabwe said.
Kabwe said KCM should respect the Zambian workers who have contributed immensely for the company to grow to where it was today after the harsh privatization process of the defunct Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM).