Kagem ops ground to a halt
OPERATIONS at Kagem Emerald Mining Limited in Lufwanyama have ground to a halt as the work stoppage entered the third day.
Unionised employees have vowed not to resume work until the management at the World's single largest emerald producer offers them a decent pay rise.
The workers have rejected a nine percent salary increase and have instead demanded a salary rise of between 35 and 50 per cent.
Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) General Secretary Joseph Chewe told the Daily Nation in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that members were aggrieved at the low salary offer which he described as unfair.
Mr Chewe however appealed to workers to resume work so that union leaders could get back to the round-table for a better package.
"I would like to appeal to our members to resume work. On the other hand, management should re-look at the offer so that they come up with something better," Mr Chewe said
He said it was unfair for a giant emerald mine like Kagem to offer “unacceptably” low salary increase to the hard working workers.
"Our members are demanding an increment of between 35 and 50 per cent increment. The nine per cent which has been offered to our members is not making different.
"At Kagem, the highest paid unionised worker gets K4,800, while the lowest paid gets K2,800. surely, how can a giant emerald mine be paying such peanuts!" Mr Chewe wondered.
He said the union was not happy with work stoppages in various mining companies, but employers should learn to give better and acceptable salary increments.
Last week, workers at the Chinese-owned 15 MCC Chambishi rejected a K36 salary rise, describing it as a mediocre and unacceptable.