We need help to have a union at our workplace Biocarbon Partners Ltd in Rhodespark so we can have the powers to negotiate certain conditions that continue to affect us at this USAID funded project but unfortunately Management has always been against the idea.We have suffered enough and also wondering whether institutions like Zambian immigration departments do implement certain policies like workforce localization because at our Company locals are continuously being unfairly dismissed/replaced by expatriates (Zambianisation) even for simple jobs as receptionist/office clerks. Their salaries are also so high that when you compare the lowest salaries a local gets a basic of k700.00 kwacha only whereas the expatriate gets US$7,000.00. Not only that, but expatriates only get all sorts of benefits including Training $1,000.00, Temporary Quarters Subsistence Allowance (TQSA) $800.00, Education Allowance $3000.00, Stock Option Plan (Shares in BCP),Airfare (R&R’s & demobilization) $800.00, 13th Month (Gross Pay), Shipping of HHE at end of contract $12,000.00, HHE purchase $6000.00, Mobilization to post $12,000.00.
This dual salary system is a difficult structural inequity that makes it hard for us to work together, support each other and achieve project goals. The wage and benefits gap is too big even if they come from higher income economies. Locals also haven’t received any salary increments from last year despite economic challenges whereas expatriates get increments up to three times a year.
There is also no religious liberty as no one is allowed to talk discuss or play any gospel song within company premises but every year (on 02nd February) we are forced to celebrate a dead man through what they call Carey Eaton Mission Award. There are many things that happen at this company that needs to be investigated by relevant authorities (i.e immigration, labor office etc) because many innocent locals are leaving their companies thinking they are joining a good company only to discover when it’s too late. At the moment, everyone wants to leave the company but stuck in their because they are waiting for next opportunity to come up as there is no way of returning to their previous employer since they already left.
Second thing BCP Management has a strong cartel and despite many taking several complaints to higher authorities nothing changes or no one comes to investigate. They have a clever way of escaping trouble and normally find a way of corrupting any officials to clear any case/allegations against them. Their lawyers (who we won’t mention here) are shareholders of their illegal mining activities in Rufunsa for a company called Rose Garden Mining/Miombo and other companies who represent and help to defend them in every case. They are now boasting that his Excellency President Lungu is in their pocket so they can’t lose any case. Things have gone to the worst as now colleagues that get fired/ dismissed are first taken to police to be locked up without a chance of a hearing just to intimidate them from taking legal action or avoid paying them any money.
We are therefore seeking relevant authorities to come and help resolve this situation before many of us are affected or treated like our former colleagues.