Fin24

Chinese firm offers Zambians 17% pay rise

2012-03-23 11:59

Lusaka - China's Jinchuan has agreed a 17% pay rise with workers at Zambia's Chibuluma copper mine, almost triple the inflation rate, the acting president of the Mine Workers' Union of Zambia said on Friday.

"We reached agreement on Wednesday for a 17% salary increase for our 500 members at Chibuluma," Charles Mukuka said.

Mukuka also said a court decision was expected on April 19 on a dispute between unions and Canada's First Quantum Minerals over how long a 15% raise agreement between them should stay in place.

Glencore International's Mopani Copper Mines agreed a 17% pay rise with unions in February and Konkola Copper Mines, part of London-listed Vedanta Resources, has awarded a similar pay increase to its workers.

President Michael Sata, who swept to power last year with promises to spread the benefits of Zambia's mineral wealth, has asked labour unions to keep salary demands close to inflation, which slowed to 6.0% in February.

He also told cabinet ministers not to interfere in salary negotiations, saying that could scare foreigners looking to invest in Africa's biggest copper producer.

Sata's support base is with the working class in Lusaka and the northern Copperbelt. Before last year's election, he frequently attacked foreign investment, most notably from China, although he has toned down the rhetoric since coming to power.