Workers at Chinese mine complain of being held underground for hours

ABOUT 400 workers at the Chinese owned, JCXH company in Chambishi have complained of various forms of ill-treatment at the company which includes being detained under-ground for more than three hours when the lift is undergoing maintenance
The workers are now are planning to ditch the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) to join the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) so that it could effectively represent them, unlike NUMAW.
More than 10 representatives of the workers, last week met MUZ General Secretary Joseph Chewe at MUZ headquarters in Kitwe where they disclosed their intention of joining the biggest mineworkers union.
The workers, who spoke on grounds of anonymity, said they had decided to ditch NUMAW to join MUZ because their current union had failed to represent them effectively and had failed to speak out on various ills like the detention of workers underground when the lift was being maintained.
The workers said the management at the company was not notifying the workers about the maintenance of the lift, but was just detaining them for more than three hours after knocking off and the hours were not being counted to be overtime.
“Apart from being detained underground when maintaining ground, there are also various forms of ill-treatment at the company which the union has failed to speak against because our union has been bought. Our branch leaders cannot talk against the ill-treatment of the workers because they are given money and talk time is bought for them.
“So in short, we have lost confidence in the NUMAW and we want to try MUZ to see if at all they will also be compromised and allow themselves to be given money and talk time by management,” said the workers.
NUMAW president James Chansa expressed ignorance on the issue of NUMAW members ditching his union to join MUZ , but MUZ General Secretary Joseph Chewe confirmed that NUMAW members had approached him with the intention of joining MUZ.
“Yes, NUMAW members came at Katilungu house with the intention of MUZ and i can tell you that MUZ is strong, transparent, accountable and always puts the interests of the members at heart. So we will embrace the NUMAW members and put their interests first,” said Mr Chewe.

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