Mr. Kambwili who paid an impromptu visit at the company said he had received numerous reports regarding poor working conditions, casualisation and lack of safety attire for workers.
The Minister warned the company that Government will not tolerate any foreign investors abusing Zambian workers.
Kambwili asked management at the company to stop casualisation and awarding of short term contracts to employees but instead put them on full time pensionable employment.
He said Government will allow firms to offer short term contracts to workers but want them put on pensionable basis to enable them get maximum benefits from their employment.
He said Government wants companies in the country to pay better salaries and provide the workers with better conditions of service.
He asked Gourock management to allow workers to work within normal working hours and pay them decent salaries.
He further urged the company management to stop paying the workers according to the set minimum wage of K419,000 saying that only applies to domestic workers and shop keepers.
He said as much as government appreciates investment from both local and foreign companies, it will not allow them to offer slave wages to the workers.
He directed Gourock management to start providing workers with protective clothing as required by law.
The Minister castigated Labour Officers who he believed had leaked the information of his visit.
He explained that this behaviour was retrogressive as it sends a ‘good picture’ of company when infact the real situation is not.
The Minister’s visit found the workers wearing new safety attire when they previously never had.
The Minister has since given a 5-day ultimatum to the company management to provide protective clothing and threatened to close the firm should the company fail to adhere to the country’s labour laws.
Gourock Factory Manager Sharat Sharma promised that he would abide by the minister’s directives of providing protective clothing, putting workers on pensionable basis and pay them improved salaries.
Gourock Allied Workers’ Union Secretary Jack Mwansa complained of intimidation and gross abuse of workers by senior management staff.
Mr. Mwansa also complained of the high number of causal workers, under-payment of salaries and threatened to block the engagement of expatriates saying Zambians were capable of doing what foreigners were doing.
Gourock produces cooking oil and soaps.
The Labour Minister is accompained to the Copperbelt by Acting Labour Commissioner Simon Kapilima and other senior government officials.