NDC opposes pending retrenchments at Mopani

By Staff Reporter

Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) says it is disturbed by revelations that Mopani Copper Mines MCM on the Copper belt plans to downsize its labor force.

NDC acting spokesperson Misheck Moyo said according to correspondence, MCM intended to retrench at least 1,000 miners under the voluntary separation scheme at both the MCM Mufulira and Kitwe divisions.

Moyo said the reasons advanced by MCM to streamline its labor force are basic and not really convincing as the metal prices on the international market were stable, hence there was no need for MCM to reduce its labor force at such a critical period when jobs were hard to come by.

He said MCM had been a good investor throughout the years and had remained stable at the height of plummeting metal prices.

“We are wondering why Mopani now wants to cut jobs at such a time. The NDC is urging all the unions in the extractive sector not to entertain calls for such job cuts. However, threats by mining conglomerates to reduce labor at this time of the year are not strange. We are fully aware that unions in the mining sector will soon be meeting respective mining houses to negotiate for improved salaries and other working conditions for its members,” said Moyo.

He said in such situations, it was common for most business entities to resort to blackmail so as to hoodwink stakeholders.

“We urge Mopani Mines not to fall into such a trap. Mopani Mines is a good corporate citizen. As a party, we urge them to reflect on their plans which will certainly have far reaching consequences if left unchecked. We understand, that most mines have operational challenges. However, these challenges can be resolved ably through consultations with relevant stakeholders,” he said

Moyo further urged unions in the mining sector to speak out with one voice and ensure that no jobs were lost.

“It is rather strange that only one particular union is speaking out against the pending job cuts. We want to implore unions in the extractive industries not to depart from their core business of speaking out for workers. Workers should be effectively be represented by their elected representatives,” he said.