As his custom is, Chishimba Kambwili says he will not allow any job losses at Chibuluma Mines in Kalulushi on the pretext of operational challenges which are unsubstantiated.
Kambwili always issues these empty warnings but either forgets about them or apologises when the entity he is warning ignores him like everybody else.
Mr Kambwili issued the empty warning yesterday after Chibuluma Mines indicated that 200 miners would soon be laid-off to keep operations afloat amidst the challenges emanating from low copper prices on the international market.
He claimed that Government was aware of a ploy by Metorex to offload the Chibuluma miners to a Chinese contractor who would employ them on a lower salary scale.
Mr Kambwili, who is Information and Broadcasting Services minister for the vision less PF, said the PF Government could not be hoodwinked, and that such reports would be investigated thoroughly.
“I am extremely disappointed with a report received from the affected workers that Metorex wants to offload the workers to a contractor because it does not want to pay them the current salaries, which are good.
“Metorex wants to give the miners to a Chinese contractor who will employ them on lower salaries, but that is illegal and if found to be true, heads will roll,” Mr Kambwili said.
He said his Mines and Minerals Development counterpart, Christopher Yaluma had taken keen interest in the matter as procedure on the impending job cuts had not been followed.
This was because the mining company should have given Government and the unions a 60-day notice, but that had not been done.
Mr Kambwili said it was unfortunate that job losses in the mines had continued to haunt the country, with investors opting for the move as the only route to break even and make profits.
“Government will not sit idle and watch an investor buy a mine yet treating Zambian workers like second-hand citizens in their own country.
“We do not support the impending retrenchments at Chibuluma until we confirm beyond reasonable doubt that they cannot break even and make profits owing to low copper prices,” Mr Kambwili said.