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KONKOLA COPPER MINES PROTEST POLITICAL? THE MINE CONTRACTORS AND ALLIED WORKERS UNION (MCAWU) LAUNCH INVESTIGATIONS INTO PROTEST

By SANFROSSA MANYINDA

THE Mine Contractors and Allied Workers Union (MCAWU) has launched investigations into the protests that took place at KCM in Chingola on suspicion that they might have been politically motivated.

The union said it highly suspected that a political hand might have sponsored the protests owing to the behavior exhibited during the demonstrations.

MCAWU General Secretary Levi Chimfwembe said they would not support any political involvement in such matters.

“We will not allow any political party to use any worker to propel their political agendas. We will inform the public of any action to be taken if we find out after the investigations that the protest was politically motivated,” he said.

Mr Chimfwembe condemned the path they took in airing their grievances.

He noted that any work stoppage relating to grievances was only legal when the full process was followed and exhausted.

He said the union was not saying that the grievances were not genuine but that the workers needed to air them genuinely.

Mr Chimfwembe observed that the conditions at KCM were not good but that protesting was not a good move.

He also advised KCM management to take some time and address the concerns raised by the workers.

And the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors has expressed disappointment at the manner in which workers from contracted firms at KCM chose to air their grievances on Tuesday.

The association’s chairman, Mr Augustine Mubanga said it was very wrong for the contractors to protest as a way of airing their grievances.

On Tuesday, over 2, 000 contracted workers at KCM protested in Chingola, demanding improved working conditions leading to 20 of them being apprehended and charged with conduct likely to cause the breach of peace.

“The employees should have used management to air their grievances unlike disrupting operations at the firm the way they did.

“We are all aware that KCM is under liquidation and that is why it has been a little bit difficult for contractors to negotiate their conditions of service,” he said.

Mr Mubanga however said contractors should not be exploited.

He said the mining giant was in a position that required support from everyone until when it would come out of its awkward position.

Mr Mubanga said that until then, the employees should understand and avoid demanding certain conditions.

“We also sympathise with our workers in the sense that everyone deserves to be paid amounts that will commensurate with the economy.

“We only hope and pray that management will sit down with the aggrieved and find an amicable solution which will not be able to disrupt operations at the mine,” Mr Mubanga said.

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