Friday, March 23, 2012
By Mwila Chansa-Ntambi in Kitwe
Fri 23 Mar. 2012, 12:58 CAT
MINEWORKERS Union of Zambia national trustee Leonard Phiri says the union is not very happy with the 17 per cent salary increment that Chibuluma South Mine has awarded its members.
But Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) secretary general Liseli Sitali says his union is happy with the increment Chibuluma has awarded to nurses and midwives because it is better than the 13.5 per cent that the union managed to sign in the previous collective agreement.
Speaking to journalists after the signing of the collective agreement between Chibuluma South Mine, MUZ and ZUNO at Moba Hotel in Kitwe on Wednesday, Phiri said MUZ would have been happier if they got something higher than 17 per cent.
He disclosed that miners wanted an increment of around 70 per cent but the union only managed to get 17 per cent for them.
However, Phiri said the union had accepted the 17 per cent in the 'meantime' in view of the projects that Chibuluma South Mine had embarked on.
"Management of Chibuluma South Mine are saying they've got exploration and other projects in place because each time they have an ore body, they have to exhaust that ore body and they have to get into the next exploration so that they can start another task. So it was quite challenging for us to get what they miners wanted but for the meantime, that is okay but we are not very happy about it," Phiri said.
"What they are mining now is coming to exhaustion, so they've got to go to another area. They will explore another ore body where they will start mining although the cost of producing copper at Chibuluma is low because of the method of mining which they use."
He urged management at the mine to consider remunerating their employees better owing to the low cost of production.
Earlier, Phiri urged management to ensure that the contentious issues that were referred to the joint industrial committee are quickly addressed to avoid industrial unrest at the mine.
The contentious issues include the eight and a half hours, the severance package and the fourth night off for nurses.
And Sitali said nurses' increment at Chibuluma South Mine was good.
"They have given our members 17 per cent salary increment and they have also agreed to be giving them a risk allowance of two per cent of their basic," Sitali said.
He added that although the two per cent risk allowance appeared to be small, the mere principle of introducing it was very important to the union.
Sitali said ZUNO was also happy that management at Chibuluma would start implementing the issue of notches for nurses and midwives in addition to giving them extra responsibility allowances whenever they performed duties outside their mandate.
Sitali also appealed to nurses in public institutions to remain calm and give his union time to negotiate with the government.
He said negotiations were so far going on well.
Sitali urged nurses and midwives to remain united because it was only through unity that they would be able to fight for better conditions of service and prevent migration.
He said it was only when more nurses and midwives stayed in Zambia that they would manage to address issues affecting the health sector.
Meanwhile, Chibuluma South Mine chief services officer Margaret Mwale said management would continue engaging unions as partners in ensuring constant improvement to the well-being of workers through regular social dialogue on issues that affect the overall operations of the company.