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Retrenchments not the only answer to down turn in mines
|s government is trying to increase the employment levels, this news is not welcome. |
The Chamber of Mines is of the view that its members are facing constraints in their mining operations with copper trading below US$7000 as the demand from its major buyer, China, has decreased its purchase of the commodity in the past few months resulting in the drop in prices.
Chamber of Mines president Emmanuel Mutati said the companies had invested about US$8 billion in mining operations in the country and that it was only fair that they get their returns therefore, the continued downturn on the copper prices would force them to find ways of reducing cost on all four aspects of production which includes labour, stores, contractors and electricity.
He warned that community members should expect less circulation of money in their communities, as everyone will be affected if the slump continues.
He noted that the price of the copper is not determined by the mining companies but has been affected by the depression that has hit the global economy.
However, government has devised a plan to prevent the threats on job cuts in the mining sector, while it continues to channel its efforts to creating new ones for the unemployed in the country.
Mines Energy and Water Development minister Christopher Yaluma in an interview with Commerce Gazette said government will have bimonthly meetings with the Chamber of Mines, Copperbelt Energy Corporation, ZESCO and the unions, who are major stakeholders, on ways to handle the down turn and find solutions together.
He said one of the ways government is trying to resolve this problem is to have the mines produce more copper to 1, 500,000 tonnes per annum by 2016 in order to increase the demand for labour and thereby secure the jobs in mining companies.
ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba told Commerce Gazette that mines should find other measures of cutting on their operations before considering job cuts.
He expressed concern that whenever companies were threatened with operational problems and there was a slump in business, workers were targeted as the first line of attack when cutting costs.
He called on employers to seek dialogue with workers representatives to find ways of maintaining current jobs as the country tries to create more employment as opposed to retrenching workers when adjusting their operational costs.
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