Government and the mine unions yesterday welcomed KCM’s decision.
Several other stakeholders had expressed concern over the initial job-cut plan at the major copper and cobalt mine in Zambia.
KCM said in a statement yesterday that it had put off the proposed redundancy programme because management, Government and the mine unions were engaged in talks to find a lasting solution.
“KCM wishes to advise that the redundancy programme originally proposed by the company has been put off. The company, unions and Government are engaging in talks to find a lasting solution,” said KCM public relations manager Joy Sata said.
She described as progressive the talks involving Government, Mine-workers Union of Zambia (MUZ), National Union of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW), and United Mine-workers Union of Zambia (UMUZ).
She said as a result of the steps that were being taken to address the challenges, significant progress had been made in identifying other measures that would mitigate the company’s financial and business challenges.
KCM was confident that during discussions, the parties would reach a ‘win-win’ solution.
In announcing the decision to lay off 2,000 workers recently, KCM had cited a slump in copper prices and high cost of production caused by rising fuel prices as the major reasons to reduce its workforce.
Welcoming the decision, Chief Government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni said yesterday he had received the news with great relief.
Sakeni, who is Information and Broadcasting Services Minister, said Government would do everything to avoid job losses, especially in the mining sector, which was a major employer on the Copperbelt.
“When there are issues like this, the best way is to bring them to the table and allow stakeholders to engage in dialogue. So for us, the step they have taken to withdraw the proposed exercise to lay off workers is welcome,” Sakeni said.
NUMAW president James Chansa said the development had brought relief to the union and employees.
“When we first learnt of KCM intentions to lay off workers, we as unions, were greatly affected because when you look at the reality of having 2,000 workers thrown on the street at once, it is a harsh reality to comprehend,” he said.
Similarly, MUZ general secretary Joseph Chewe commended KCM’s bold stance, saying management must now work hard to restore confidence.