Wage Riots Spread to Lusaka, Chinese Fear for Safety

Pastor Nevers Mumba, the president of the opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD), has warned that incidents of violence over the government’s imposed minimum wage will escalate if action is not taken soon.

Following a labour riot at the Chinese-owned Maamba Collum coal mine in the Southern Province which claimed the life of one Chinese manager and injured several others, wage riots spread to Lusaka on Tuesday, where workers protested against their employers at a prefabricated construction center along Twin Palm Road.

Nkandabwe Ward Councilor Partson Mangunje told journalists today that the barbaric killing of the Chinese national by protesting miners had caused an economic breakdown.

“The Chinese are afraid and are spending most of their times locked up in the quarters since the incident happened,” he said. “We now have a situation of people who can’t read and understand the contracts and what happened was that they ended up acting on group influence. We need a minimum of a Grade Seven full certificate as a qualification for one to be employed in the mines.”

Dr. Mumba has said that in order to restore public safety and quell these disturbances, it is important that the Government modify the statutory instrument regarding mandatory wage increases, paving way for consultations between employers and employees.

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