Sinazongwe, 7th April, 2024…

The Minister of Labour and Social Security, Brenda Tambatamba has urged the business community to ensure that key company policies are displayed for worker education.

Ms Tambatamba explained that key policies such as Human Resource Development Management policy, Environment policy as well as Health and Safety policy are important documents that must be interpreted to workers so that they are adhered to in accordance with their contractual obligation with the company.

She added that these documents must be appreciated, adopted and sensitized to not only the workers but the surrounding communities as well.

She said this during an integrated labour inspection conducted at Chenguang Biotech Group Company Limited in Sinazongwe District led by Assistant Labour Commissioner for Southern Province, Mr. Joseph Kaindama and the Assistant Labour Commissioner for Inspections, Ms. Chibesa Lupili.

The Minister guided that once the key policies are in place, it helps workers to understand the company’s standard operating procedures and processes taking into consideration the future implications and risks of the environment.

Ms. Tambatamba advised the management of the company to prioritize the decent work agenda by providing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) to all employees, whether on temporary employment or not.

She noted that casual workers employed to handle substances that can be harmful to workers’ health should be adequately protected, as it is the right of all employees to be protected from harmful work.

In response, the Chenguang Biotech Managing Director, Mr. Liu Fenghai assured the Minister that the guidance given would be granted the urgency it demanded.

Mr. Liu Fenghai demonstrated this urgency by ensuring that the employees who did not have PPEs while working were provided for immediately and the company continued with operations.

And during integrated inspections at Collum Coal Mine, Ms. Tambatamba advised the mining company to immediately relocate workers who are residing in unsafe housing environment until the rehabilitation of houses is done.

She emphasized that Zambia has ratified various ILO conventions such as the Working Environment (Air Pollution, Noise and Vibration) Convention, 1977 (No. 148) and Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981 (No. 155) among others, which emphasizes employers providing decent housing and working space for their employees as a crucial factor.

Ms Tambatamba remarked that the Government is granting licenses for investments to different levels of mining, including large-scale, small-scale and artisanal mining with expectations of adherence to the mining standards.

Furthermore, she stated that Collum Coal has a large-scale mining license, which places an expectation on the company to provide a high level of infrastructure that can be used to attract a higher standard of business operations and provide a decent workspace for all workers.

She noted that decent housing is a social corporate responsibility that employers owe to their employees, which is in line with the goal of the company to bring development to the community where they conduct business, and to commercialize and urbanize the community in an orderly manner.

One of the brothers owning the mine, Mr Xu Jianxue thanked the Minister for visiting the site and assured her that changes would be made to better the lives of the workers by ensuring compliance with not only the directive on infrastructure given during the labour inspection but all labour laws.

Mr Xu explained that financial constraints had been the major cause for delayed infrastructure development.

Speaking at both companies, the District Commissioner for Sinzongwe District, Mr Nchimunya Siakole commended the efforts by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to increase labour law compliance by ensuring that Sinazongwe District benefits from integrated inspections in the days that the team has been in in the district.

Mr. Siakole further encouraged the companies inspected to harmoniously work with the Government to increase productivity and to sustainably develop the local communities which will bring about improved livelihoods.


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