24 September 2012

Zambia: IRC Rules for Kansanshi, FQMOL Workers

THE Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Ndola has awarded a 25 per cent pay rise across the board to unionised workers at First Quantum Mining Operations Limited (FQMOL) and Kansanshi Mining PLC (KMP). The increment is with effect from January 2012.

The pay rise will be split into two with employees who are members of the National Union for Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) getting the 13 per cent this year from January to December 2012 and a 12 per cent from January to December 2013.

Delivering a judgment in a matter in which FQMOL was the first complainant with KMP being the second while NUMAW and MUZ were respondents, IRC deputy chairperson Judge Jones Chinyama, who was sitting with George Basil and Joseph Bwalya, said the court had taken into account the foregoing and determined that specific salary increases be awarded.

Apart from the salary increment, FQMOL employees would have the medical scheme implemented as was agreed effective from the date of judgment, and Christmas bonus be paid effective December 2012.

"We also make the following awards as agreed by the parties during the negotiations in addition to the salary increases," Judge Chinyama said in the judgment.

"The workers have also been granted a funeral grant to be paid upon the death of an employee, his/her spouse, biological children and the father or the mother and production bonus should be paid as agreed."

As for KMP employees, Judge Chinyama said permanent and pensionable employment should be offered to those below the retirement age at the end of their current contracts with an option to remain on short-term contracts and employees above the retirement age to continue on contracts.

Meanwhile, the working hours were reduced from 12 to eight hours per shift with effect from the date of judgment with the 13th Cheque paid with effect from December 2012 and education allowance paid at the rate of K3, 500,000.

The employees would also receive a leave passage of K1,800,000 per year and those in the salary grades G1 to G2 would migrate to grade G3 with effect from January 2012 with the attendant pay rise which has been awarded.

Furthermore, Judge Chinyama ordered the complainants to include all the other items which were either deferred or dropped or not agreed or disputed in the next collective bargaining negotiations for the year 2014.

"It will be noted that we have deliberately avoided determining the question whether or not there should be a Collective Agreement for the period of two years. This is because we feel that issues pertaining to the tenure of Collective Agreements should not be cast in concrete or be rigid," he said.

He said the dispute had been resolved and in the circumstances either party should go at their own cost.

He implored unionised workers in the mining industry to be sensitised on the provisions of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act with regard to legislative mechanisms for resolving labour disputes.

He warned the employees that the law would only protect those that observed it while those that chose to break it knowing or unknowingly would be visited by the law.

"They must expect consequences of their actions. If they are fortunate enough to be granted amnesty by anyone, that is the end of the matter. But the courts cannot indulge them if the terms of the amnesty are not respected," he said.

FQM had sued MUZ and NUMAW on March 16, this year as first and second respondents for failing to agree on the collective bargaining.

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