copper Zambia
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Kalumbila Minerals, a subsidiary of First Quantum Minerals, has signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with three union bodies – the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW); Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) and United Mine Workers Union of Zambia (UMUZ).

The agreement effective 1 May 2021 was made as an amendment to the existing CBA that will expire in April 2022.

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Unionized employees will receive a K1,000.00 basic salary increment across the board, which translates to a K400 increase on housing allowance, 14.3% upward adjustment to education allowance and other associated allowances, bringing the total increase to K1,500.00 per month on each Unionized employees’ pay slip.

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Speaking during the signing ceremony, KML General Manager, Sean Egner, said KML is delighted with the partnership the Company enjoys with the Unions.

“The agreement we are signing means a lot to the leadership at Sentinel Mine. The economic challenges our employees and most Zambians are currently facing formed the basis of many candid discussions before, during and after the negotiations”, said Egner.

Egner alluded to the fact that Sentinel Mine is equally faced with the same social-economic pressures such as Covid-19, volatilities in the world market, rising cost of business, taxation and interests of shareholders who have made the huge mining investment. He said KML is resolved to take on these challenges to achieve the set target of 252 000 tons of copper in 2021.

“With an engaged staff, we can be sure of our productivity and the knock-on effects this will have in the short, medium and long term on the national treasury, our community and our employees”, said Egner.

Speaking at the same event, General Treasurer for the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW), Saul Simujika said the signing ceremony was an indication of successful discussion between the unions and KML management.

He commended the effective communication between KML management and the unions and thanked all parties involved in making sure that the negotiations were done in record time of one day.

“We encourage more communications to avoid conflict between unions and management. Management must be open with information so that the production figures being communicated by the workers to the Unions match the ones communicated by the management as this prevents prolonged and heated discussions”, said Simujika.

He urged the unionized employees to accept the negotiated amount and put in their best effort in production so that there is more basis for better negotiations in future.

Kalumbila Minerals Human Resource Manager, Brighton Mwiinga, said the company has always believed that dealing with unions requires partnerships in sharing the same agenda, same constituency and interests to improve the welfare of employees.

“Our approach in this partnership has been about building trust in this relationship, resolve issues on an ongoing basis even when there is no negotiation.

“This we have demonstrated over the years leading to the mature state of our relationship with our partners. In the last conversation, we approached the issues with boldness, honesty and understood the passion of our partners over our employees’ welfare matters. We are constantly resolved that when we confer, we find solutions even in seemingly tough conversations like we had,” said Mwiinga.

Mwiinga said the negotiation style keeps getting better and together with the unions, KML shall openly look to the future with continuous engagement for the betterment of the employees. He urged the union leaders to reignite collective responsibility, invite employee commitment to production and help sustain a cordial industrial relations atmosphere.

“Our doors remain open to engage, at any time, even over non-negotiable issues as we believe there is wisdom on the other side. Comrades, you asked and management gave; we have bettered the lives of 1,444 employees starting May 2021”, said Mwiinga.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement was arrived at during an interim negotiation between the unions and KML management, the two parties will meet for full negotiations towards end of the year.