Zambia miners at Chinese firm strike again over pay

By Chris Mfula

LUSAKA, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Zambian miners at Chinese-owned NFC Africa Mining went on strike again on Tuesday after the company refused to raise their wages by nearly 100 percent as agreed last week, the National Union of Mine and Allied Workers said.

“The workers have again gone on strike. They were promised a pay rise of 2 million Zambian kwacha ($400) per month, which they have not been given,” the union president Mundia Sikufele told Reuters.

About 2,000 workers at NFC Africa Mining, majority-owned by China Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation, first went on a strike earlier this month demanding higher wages.

Sikufele said the workers called off the strike earlier this month after the government asked the management to give them a 2 million kwacha pay rise on Oct. 10.

“But

    the government, which proposed the 2 million kwacha is now saying the right procedure is for the workers to allow the union to negotiate with the management,” Sikufele said.

    Long-time opposition leader Michael Sata won election in the southern African country on Sept. 20 on a populist platform that included criticism of foreign investors and promises to improve the lives of workers.

    In his first official meeting as president, Sata saw Chinese ambassador Zhou Yuxiao in an effort to dispel fears his sometimes fierce anti-Chinese rhetoric while in opposition would translate into a shift in investment policy.

    He also made clear that Chinese companies, which have ploughed more than $2 billion into developing the mining sector, would not get preferential treatment. ($1 = 5005.000 Zambian Kwachas) (writing by Olivia Kumwenda and Chris Mfula; editing by James Jukwey)

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