China-Jiangxi’s Zambian ‘slaves’ in Chinsali down tools

Construction works at the government ‘s administration office in Chinsali district  have stalled after the contractor’s workers downed tools.

The Irate workers have complained that  their employer , China – Jiangxinga engaged them three months ago, they have not signed any formal contract that stipulate their work conditions.

They lamented that even  transport to ferry them to the project site, away has been withdrawn; a situation they have described as pathetic.

Among other problems highlighted include, non-payment of tools allowances despite them doing the work with their own handy equipment saying what has incensed them more is the withdrawal of transport to ferry them to the construction site without paying them any allowance.

ZANIS reports from Chinsali today that the group leaders who sought anonymity said that the use of abusive language and beating of workers by their employer was slowly becoming the work culture.

They cited a recent incident in which a named 28 year old casual worker was hit with a shot button on his back but the matter was not reported to police as it was sorted out amicably.

The irate workers said among the 70 workers include skilled labour force of carpenters, bricklayers and general casual workers who are all getting the same daily wage of KR15 per day.

And District Commissioner (DC), Evelyn Kangwa has denounced the engagement of Chinese contractors saying many of these firms do not heed to the Zambian labour laws of the land as reported in most cases.

Ms Kangwa explained that since the arrival on site of the contractor, there has been no tangible works to report about despite government pouring in huge financial resources saying there is no equipment at the site only five Chinese foremen and a supervisor and the 70 man- Zambian workforce  that are seen to be making the site busy.

And Deputy Permanent Secretary, Jewis Chabi has assured the irate workers that his office will soon dispatch the Provincial Labour Officer to meet with the contractor, who is currently in Lusaka, to iron out all contentious issues to avoid delaying the works.

Mr.Chabi said it is worrying that just three months after the contractor engaged the workers; threats of work stoppage are surfacing saying the project to construct the new Government Administration block is supposed to run for 18 months saying such acts may just derail the works.

He assured the workers that transport to ferry them to the construction site will be provided to them as he has spoken to the site supervisor on phone who has issued such instructions to his foremen, a move that cheered the group who later swung in action to return to work.

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