ALLIANCE for Better Zambia (ABZ) secretary general Eric Chanda has accused Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) of blackmailing the Government and its people with its decision to lay off more than 1,500 workers.
The mining company announced last week that it was shedding off 1,529 employees with immediate effect to operate sustainably.
But Mr Chanda said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that with such an action, the mining company had become irrelevant to the economic equation of the country.
"Therefore, we appeal to the Patriotic Front Government, if they are serious with the development of the country, to find another equity partner and allow KCM to pack and go," Mr Chanda said.
"It is unfortunate that KCM has managed to blackmail the Zambian people and the Government by deciding to lay off workers at a time Zambians are crying for more jobs," Mr Chanda said.
Mr Chanda said the Government was currently breaking its head to find ways of creating more employment for the Zambian people and the decision by KCM was blackmail.
The mining company has in the past opposed efforts to broaden tax in the mining sector on the basis that there was not enough profit in their activities.
Mr Chanda said the company had made enough profits from the country's minerals, hence their decision to shed off the workforce.
Zambia is Africa's largest producer of copper but it has remained one of the poorest countries with some stakeholders knowing that minerals are a wasting asset.
"If we don't collect tax from our minerals now when we are the largest producer of copper in Africa, then I wonder when we will be able to collect enough tax from our minerals," Mr Chanda said.
He said actions exhibited by KCM had left the country to survive on debt when the country had plenty of minerals.
And the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has described as unfortunate the announcement by KCM to lay off more than 1,500 workers, reports MUNAMBEZA MUWANEI.
ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba said this was a drawback considering the fact that the unions and Government were fighting for workers getting more money.
Mr Hikaumba said the union motherbody would soon meet with Mine-workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) to see whether KCM could consider looking at other options rather than laying off workers.
"We are yet to communicate with our colleagues at MUZ so that we could hear from them about other options rather than to lay off the workers," he said.