Manager takes Chinese mine to court for racial discrimination

(By Charles Tembo in Ndola)

NON-FERROUS Corporation Africa Mining Limited corporate affairs manager Nelson Jilowa has sued the Chinese run mine in the Industrial Relations Court for racial discrimination. Jilowa has complained about the manner a Chinese Guo Lei was brought in as an interpreter but ended up taking his job.

According to a grievance letter addressed to management, Jilowa complained that he suffered serious racial discrimination.

“In 2015, our management decided to bring on board madam Grace (Guo Lei) at corporate affairs to help improve communication between top management and the departmental manager and that she would play the role of an interpreter. To the contrary Miss Guo Lei is now the boss of everything,” the grievance letter stated.

“In view of this, one would conclude that you need to be Chinese to head a department at NFCA and have some minimum access to company motor vehicles and be able to command authority as provided for in company policies. The fact that most of the jobs in corporate affairs are culture related, it is no reason why the government of Zambia would allow NFCA to employ expatriate as being suggested.”

However, following this letter, Jilowa’s contract was terminated. This has forced Jilowa to sue NFCA in the Industrial Relations Court. The matter comes up in February 2019 at a date to be communicated to the parties. In August, President Edgar Lungu said the country’s favourable business environment had led to huge investments from foreign companies to the mining sector.

President Lungu during commissioning of the South -East Ore body project, under NFCA mining Africa, said the project would create 4,000 jobs. President Lungu further expressed optimism that the 24 years life span of NFCA mine would translate into 5000 jobs for the local people. But Jilowa said Zambian workers must be protected.

He said people on the Copperbelt did not vote to lose jobs to foreign nationals.

“So what is happening is very unfortunate. We did not vote for the President to lose jobs. So our President, Mr Edgar Lungu, should look into this injustice. The Chinese never voted for him and will never because it’s us the local people that vote,” said Jilowa in an interview.

“Why should we lose jobs like this when the people of Zambia should continue to suffer under the Chinese?”

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