No money in their pockets: almost 400 miners lose jobs

THREE-hundred-and-seventy-nine Mechanised Mining Solution (MMS) employees working at Nchanga underground mine in Chingola have been retrenched.

This is the biggest retrenchment involving miners this year.

MMS, a Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) contracted company, held on to the workforce with a view that KCM would award it another three-year contract after the original agreement expired on March 31, 2012.

However, when KCM hired another contractor to do the work MMS was doing, the contractor had no option but to release the workers.

Several MMS employees working at Chililabombwe KCM underground mine have already been retrenched and offices closed.

Some of the employees talked to said they were underpaid on their terminal benefits.

Stanslous Bweupe said he was employed as a workman and in two years he accrued 40 leave days but was only paid K3 million.

He said the company was deducting insurance and statutory contributions, and that the workers were supposed to be paid Christmas bonus but that was not honoured.

Christopher Kabwe who worked as a machine operator said he had 38 leave days and he got K8.4 million.

Mr Kabwe said he was not paid his housing allowance and insurance refund which the company had been deducting.

MMS director Yolomino Banda confirmed the latest retrenchments yesterday, saying KCM and his company had finally gone separate ways.

Mr Banda said KCM and the new contractor would absorb some workers from MMS.

“We wanted to have 45 days running contracts to do works in underground areas but despite using our own materials to reinforce such areas, KCM geo-tech department did not approve the project and finally terminated the contract.

“We didn’t want to lose our employees so we kept them till now and even this salary they are getting they didn’t work for it. If there is any anomaly, employees can still come to our office because the payroll crew remains intact,” he said.

The employees said they were asking for accurate payments of leave days, gratuity, Charismas bonus and three months salaries.

A check found MMS employees at the former mine club receiving their pay statements and records of service.

Major contractors that have seen their contracts terminated include JES Mining and Moolmans Mining.

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