Zambia: Mines' job-cuts inevitable'

THE Chamber of Mines in Zambia (CMZ) has defended retrenchments in the mining industry saying the exercise is inevitable and not intended to pressure the Government to revise the tax regime.

But other stakeholders yesterday insisted that the retrenchments were
unjustified, as most mines would remain profitable despite the falling
copper prices and global economic meltdown.

CMZ president Nathan Chishimba said in Lusaka yesterday that the
retrenchments that the mining companies had embarked on were also being
done in other sectors of the economy but received little publicity.

The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Wednesday accused the
mining companies of using the copper prices and global financial crisis
to hit at the Government over the new mining tax regime introduced this

Mr Chishimba said the problems brought about by the falling copper
prices and global economic recession were real and the mining companies
were ready to dialogue with the Government to come up with the best way
of addressing the situation.

The question of arm-twisting the Government does not arise because
what the mining companies are going through in Zambia is happening
elsewhere in the world and the best we can do as a country is sit down
and discuss, he said.

Mr Chishimba said the mining companies did not take pleasure in seeing
Zambians being left jobless and it was for that reason that the
investors were ready to meet with Government officials to resolve the

He further called for calm among Zambians as the mining companies, the
Government and other players in the industry attempted to find a
solution to the problems.

On Wednesday, President Rupiah Banda expressed concern over the
retrenchment of workers by mining companies and called for dialogue to
look at other ways of reducing costs without resorting to job cuts.

Mr Banda said the Government would always encourage negotiations in
resolving problems facing mining and other investors as a result of
falling copper prices and the global financial crisis.

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