By JACKSON MAPAPAYI
ABOUT 200 miners at First Quantum Mining and Operations Limited (FQMO) Mining Division have been suspended for taking part in a work stoppage.
The miners have been suspended to facilitate for investigations into their illegal go slow.
This is according to one of the suspension letters obtained and written by the mining firm’s Human Resource manager Maxwell Banda.
The letter indicated that during the period of suspension, the suspended miners will not be paid for the shifts lost as a result of their illegal work stoppage.
FQMO also banned the affected workers from enter the company premises, unless with express permission of the manager.
“You are reminded that you are still an employee of First Quantum Mining and Operations Limited and as such, you will be expected to comply with all company instructions given to you during the period of investigations,” reads the letter in part.
But the affected miners wondered why management had decided to take such an action when they were simply exercising their rights.
The workers stated that they refused to work because they wanted to seek an audience with management over the newly planned voluntary pension scheme which did not work.
“We believe the newly planned voluntary pension scheme is not being done in good faith because we believe it will only benefit the mining firm and not us as workers,” said one of the affected workers on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the UPND in Solwezi has regretted the development.
UPND district secretary, Amos Mpenge, said in a statement that the party was expecting the mining firm to engage the workers in an amicable way and hear their grievances.
He said it was unfair for management to rush into suspending the workers simply because they were airing their grievances.
“We therefore demand that FQMO within 24 hours call back the affected workers so that they report for work, and as they report for work, management workers through their various union representatives can reopen negotiations so that a win-win situation can be arrived at,” Mr Mpenge said.