CHINGOLA UPND member of parliament Chipoka Mulenga has urged Konkola Copper Mines contractors and suppliers to pay their employees and clear the salary backlog.
Addressing directors of various companies contracted by KCM, Mulenga who is also Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, called for a lasting solution to problems faced by the employees.
He said the issues that halt production at KCM, including delayed salaries and wages and poor conditions of service, should be dealt with by the contractors and suppliers.
A former KCM chief surveyor, Mulenga was in Chingola following a peaceful demonstration by over 100 men and women employed by contractors and suppliers of various goods and services to KCM.
He noted that although KCM has been paying its contractors and suppliers on time, they in turn however do not do the same to their workers.
Earlier, Mulenga engaged KCM management and representatives of the Mine Contractors and Allied Workers Union in finding a lasting solution to the perpetual protests at the mine.
The union took advantage of Mulenga’s presence to express their grievances regarding the underpaid contractor’s employees.
MCAWU national secretary Joseph Kasonka noted that the contractors work very hard but get very little.
“What plans do you have for our people who work so hard every day but get peanuts? They are major stakeholders. In fact, they do the actual jobs more than KCM employees but at the end of the day get peanuts, can’t send their children to universities and so on,” said Kasonka.
In response, Mulenga said he had taken note of the employees’ concerns but urged the union to ask their members to resume work.
“As you have brought your submission today, it will be addressed and we will urge you for now to encourage your people to get back to work while we are resolving these issues,” he said.
Mulenga added that he was glad to hear that the KCM was fulfilling its mandate, and commended the company for being consistent.
“Pay your employees as well consistently because their biggest cry is that they don’t even know when you are paid because you don’t pay them on time,” Mulenga told the contractors and suppliers. “They say sometimes they get paid after 90 days. So why are you not paying your employees if KCM is paying you on time?”
And while in Chingola, Mulenga commissioned a classroom block at Hippo Pool Community School.
Mulenga said he would continue engaging various stakeholders in making education accessible.
He said even after helping build the classrooms and sourcing desks, he pledged to connect clean water to the institution. He further pledged to build clean ablution blocks in an effort to make learning conducive.
“Dear parents, you sent me to Parliament to speak for you and be your mediator,” said Mulenga.
The two classrooms were built in partnership with World Vision and Toyota Zambia. The partners pledged to provide necessities such as desks and books among other items.
World Vision Zambia national director John Hasse and Toyota Zambia general manager Gilbert Chilufya said their companies would continue partnering with the school in alleviating the problems pupils have been facing.