By ROGERS KALERO
OUTSOURCING of labour by mining companies is a cancer which must be uprooted because it denies workers in contracted companies social security, better salaries and generally improved conditions of service which they are entitled to annually, Mine workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) President ,Joseph Chewe, has said.
Mr Chewe said workers in contracted companies were being denied social security, better salaries and generally better conditions of service because the employer engaged to outsource labour by the parent company is given a fixed contract for five years which makes it difficult or impossible to give any salary increment.
He was speaking at the weekend in Ndola when he met the Labour Commissioner Given Muntengwa to present some of the concerns and challenges facing the unions in the mining industry.
“During our supreme council meeting, we clearly stated that outsourcing of labour in the mining industry has reached an alarming level. It has become a cancer which must be uprooted. You will note that the employers who are sub-contracted are abused and are failing to pay reasonable salaries and conditions of service.
“Yes, they are failing to pay reasonable salaries and conditions of service because the parent company will give them a fixed contract for five years and, in this case, it will be difficult or impossible to give reasonable salary increment to its workers because they cannot make any adjustment to the fixed contract,” Mr Chewe said.
Mr Chewe said business model of outsourcing of labour had continued to promote unstable employment , social security as well as bring misery especially amongst young workers.
“We have observed that outsourcing of labour in most companies is only a way of investors to avoid the responsibility of decent jobs in the country. The unions’ efforts to represent workers in these companies that have outsourced labour is a huge challenge.
“Yes, a huge challenge because of union busting by managements . We urge government include Members of Parliament (MP) to move a motion in parliament and address the issue,” he said.
Mr Chewe said he was hopeful that the New Dawn government will work hard to address the problem of outsourcing in the mining industry to achieve the country’s decent work agenda .
“We are grateful and humbled that we are here in Ndola to meet the Labour Commissioner so that we can talk about the challenges facing the mine industry. We are sure that the New Dawn government will help to address this problem of outsourcing ,” he sad.
And speaking later, Labour Commissioner Givens Muntengwa said the concerns raised by the union over the issue of outsourcing would be presented to the Minister of Labour and Social Security for necessary attention.
Mr Muntengwa said the issue of outsourcing has proved to be a serious problem as acknowledged by the MUZ President Joseph Chewe hence it needed to be given the necessary attention for the sake of industrial harmony and increased production
“We are here on the Copperbelt to look at various issues ranging from employment in the mining sector and other related issues.
On the issue of outsourcing, the MUZ President has explained that the sub-contractors are unable to move an inch to give better salaries and good conditions of service because they are given a fixed contract by the parent company. This issue will be taken to the minister of labour ,” Mr Muntengwa said