Unions call for law to compel mines

First Quantum Minerals

MINE Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) officials have urged that should mining companies continue giving large volumes of contracts and jobs to foreigners, Government should enact a statutory instrument to compel them to use local suppliers and contractors in their operations.
MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe said in Kitwe that there is need for local suppliers and contractors to access business in the mines without problems.
“Our observation and view on this matter is that should foreign mining companies continue using foreign suppliers and contractors, Government should enact a law which will force these mines to give business and jobs to our local people,” he said.
Mr Chewe said time has come for Zambians to start benefiting from the country’s resources.
“Government should listen to the cries of the people, our local supplies and contractors are not getting jobs and businesses in the mines as they should be. If this trend continues, we must enact a statutory instrument to compel mining companies to give contracts and jobs to local people,” he said.
Mr Chewe said it is unfortunate that local suppliers and contractors have continued having difficulties in accessing business from the mines.
He hoped that something can be done to address the situation.
“We are not saying that all the jobs and contracts should be given to the local people. Only those which can be competently done by our local people should be given to them. It is fair enough that our people benefit from these resources which we have. It is sad that these cries from local contractors and suppliers have continued because we used to have them,” he said.
And NUMAW president James Chansa also said that his union is not happy that local suppliers and contractors are not adequately accessing business from the mines.
Mr Chansa said in Chililabombwe that there is need to ensure that local people start benefiting from the mines adequately.
“Our fair comment is that we are not going to support anyone, at the moment we feel that our local suppliers and contractors are not accessing business from the mines the way they should and if this does not stop, it is better to enact laws which will force these foreign mining firms to give business to our people,” he said.
Mr Chansa, however, noted that dialogue is important in addressing certain issues affecting the people.
“But again if dialogue is not forthcoming, Government should enact necessary laws that will ensure that our local suppliers and contractors are heavily involved in the daily operations of the mines. Copper is a wasting asset, one day we will not have copper, it is therefore fair that our people and communities benefit from these resources we have,” Mr Chansa said.
Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Christopher Yaluma was quoted in some sections of the media saying Government has no intentions of enacting a statutory instrument to force foreign mining companies to use local contractors and suppliers.
Deputy Minister of Commerce and Trade Miles Sampa last Thursday gave mining firms are 30-day ultimatum to give local suppliers and contractors business, failure to which Government would come up with a statutory instrument forcing them to do so.