Chambishi miners riot

MINERS at Chambishi NFCA mine rioted on Wednesday night burning three vehicles to ashes, looting their canteen and smashing windows on some buildings.

The miners’ action is said to have been spurred by their on-going discontent over terminal benefits following their transfer from NFCA mining department to JCHX, a new company that has been formed within NFCA.

According to Copperbelt Division Commanding officer Dr Martin Malama, police had quailed the situation by 03:00 hours yesterday.

“There was a riotous situation by workers at Chambishi mine at about 22:00 to 23:00 hours on Wednesday. Three jeeps were burnt to ashes, two other extensively damagaed, canteen broken into and items looted and windows to some buildings damaged,” Dr Malama said.

He said the workers also broke into the accounts department but nothing valuable was stolen.

Dr Malama said windows of the administration block were smashed and the guardroom was burnt.

“This is the impending agitation continuing from the earlier industrial action, we are on the ground and the situation is quiet,” he said.

Dr Malama said dialogue was always better than violence.

About three weeks ago, workers at the same mine protested over alleged under-payment of their terminal benefits since their transfer from NFCA mining department to another company JCHX.

The angry workers then said it was a mockery for management to pay some of them as little as K500,000 for their terminal benefits when copper prices were so high and production at the firm was good.

The workers were on strike for about three days and only returned to work after assurances that their grievances would be addressed by mid February.

The miners also complained of oppression and injustice at the mine.

According to sources in Chambishi, the workers were agitated by management giving notices to perceived ring-leaders that they would not be reporting for work and that they would be given one month salaries.

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