Miners have killed a supervisor and seriously injured another during a dispute over pay at the Collum mine in Zambia.
The company that owns the mine is Chinese – as are all the supervisors. There is growing animosity towards the owners due to allegations of abuse, underpaying, health and safety, bullying, and anti-trade union activities.
In July, the Zambian government set a new minimum wage $205 a month – yet the mine bosses decided to pay the workers well below the minimum wage - $80 a month.
China is a country desperate for resources, and is heavily investing across Africa – a billion dollars in mining alone. They buy up companies and displaying atrocious attitudes towards worker’s rights, pay, and safety.
This is not the first time that disputes between the workers and the factory owners gas resulted in violence. Two years ago – the police charged two Chinese managers with attempted murder after they had shot thirteen workers who were protesting over poor pay. The charges were dropped after the bosses bribed their victims.
Zambia’s labour minister – Fackson Shamanda, said that:
“It is very unfortunate that things have turned out this way because of the recently-adjusted minimum wages. This has to be condemned in the strongest terms. It could have been avoided through dialogue,"
Shamanda is clearly missing the point. The bosses refuse to engage in any dialogue. They have a track record of shooting workers who dare to complain about pay!
The mine has been warned about serious health and safety issues, working conditions, forcing miners to work up to 18 hours shifts. Yet no action has ever been taken against them.