A group of miners who are working as casual workers in Kitwe has asked President Sata to give them permanent jobs if his claims that the Patrotic Front (PF) government has created over 600, 000 jobs since 2011 are true.
The irate casual workers said the PF must give true jobs to young people who were promised permanent and quality employment during the 2011 campaigns.
Some of the youths talked to in Kitwe said there was widespread unemployment on the Copperbelt but Sata and his ministers were bragging that that they PF government had created over 600, 000 jobs.
One of the youths Dickens Kabwe said mining companies and those firms that were contracted had a habit of engaging workers on casual basis.
“Mr Sata promised to stop causualisation, but this is when it has even increased and he is just watching. The people are suffering because of casualisation. The young people are complaining and the PF leadership starting with the president want to do nothing. We shall not vote for them in 2011 because they are total liars and who cannot be entrusted with power. They are careless and irresponsible. They do not want to respond to the needs of the people who put them in power,” he said.
Another youth, Teddy Chibwe, who spoke has been unofficially appointed as the interim spokesperson of the casual miners in Kitwe said the workers would be staging public protests to pressure the government to respond to their plight.
He said the PF government did not believe in dialogue to reach consensus adding the Sata and his ministers only understood the language of protests and violence.
Chibwe said the casual workers would continue with major protests against casualisation that had been characterized by poor working conditions and paltry salaries imposed on them by their employers.
Chibwe said casual workers had suffered enough abuse at the hands of employers even though they were doing a lot of hard work for the mining companies.
He said casualisation was widespread on the Copperbelt where workers’ personal emoluments were as little as K1, 000.
“When look at the work we do, we will see that we the contractors are the ones that do the bulk of work at KCM and yet what we get is far less than what our colleagues who are permanent employees for KCM are earning,” Mr Chibwe said.
He said some casual workers had been working for over two years without formal contracts and other conditions being outlined.
“This government and the Konkola Copper Mines management must look into our problems and this is well known that our working conditions are bad. We have not been employment on permanent basis and we are being employed as casuals by the contractors engaged by the big mining companies,” Chibwe said.
He said it was government responsibility to ensure that all employers adhered to the local abour laws and to punish those that were flouting the workers’ rights.
He said the subsequent ministers of labour had failed to address the plight of workers in the mining industry.