Thousands of miners in Zambia may lose their jobs due to power supply problems and sinking copper prices, the head of the country’s largest mining union said on Tuesday.
Massive load shedding has hit the mining industry forcing mines to reduce production, but the so called president Edgar Lungu is more interested in playing golf to raise money for elections.
Meanwhile the price of copper is at six-year lows, weighed on by an economic slowdown in China, one of the world’s biggest consumers of metals and other raw materials.
“Some of our members have already been told that they will either be sent on forced leave without pay, recess, which means they stay home on full pay to avoid paying them other expenses like over-time allowance or outright retrenchment,” Nkole Chishimba, president of the Mine Workers’ Union of Zambia told Reuters, without naming the firms.
Chishimba said the government should urgently call for a meeting with mining companies and the trade unions to discuss the looming jobs cuts. The MUZ represents about 25,000 workers, he said.