Sino hydro workers set to resume work

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Construction works on the nearly completed 120 Mega Watts  Itezhi Tezhi hydroelectric power station  project which is due for commissioning mid this year have resumed.

This follows the lengthy negotiations between management and workers held in Itezhi Tezhi yesterday that has led to the abandonment of the illegal strike action and directives have since been given to union members to get back to work.

According to a copy of resolutions made available to ZANIS today, management and workers resolved to report for work today.

A check by ZANIS at the site revealed that a sizeable number of workers had resumed work.

The management and workers have resolved that they will hire a qualified and licensed human resource practitioner whose credentials will be submitted to the District Commissioner and Labour officer before by the mid of January.

With regard to inflated deductions on union contributions, the management resolved that any such action for all unionized workers shall be resolved by the end of this month.

The statement also indicated that a general amnesty for employees who took part in the work stoppage will continue.

“General amnesty for employees who took part in the work stoppage will continue till Monday 5th January 2015. Any employee who shall not report for work without reason during this period shall be deemed to have terminated their own employment”, read the statement in part.

Management has also agreed to pay annual leave pay for 2014 for months qualified and that management and the union will conclude their recognition agreement before Friday of second week of January latest.

Works on the power project had been disrupted for the past one week following an indefinite strike declared by workers.

The workers were protesting over inflated union contribution fees which they claimed had reduced their disposable income on the already low salaries.

They also protested against the decision by Sino Hydro management to allow a Chinese national who is a civil engineer by profession to continue practicing human resource functions.

The workers further complained of stagnant wages despite several changes in the economy.

“ our wages have never been adjusted from the time the project started, a person who starts work today and the one who started in 2010 are getting the same regardless of all the changes that have occurred in terms of the economy”,  Eric Chidakwa the workers representative said.

Sino Hydro is the Engineering Procurement Contractor (EPC) engaged by the Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation (ITPC) to build the power station.

The Itezhi Tezhi hydro power project is 50-50 joint venture between TATA of India and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation with an investment of U $250 million and more than 450 workers.