UPDATE 2-Zambia warns miners to consult government on job cuts

Wed Nov 13, 2013 9:38am EST
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* Lusaka has been taking nationalist posture

* Message: you need our permission to cut jobs

By Chris Mfula

LUSAKA, Nov 13 (Reuters) - Zambia, Africa's top copper producer, warned mining companies that any moves to lay off workers without consulting the government would be seen as a violation of their investment licences.

President Michael Sata, a populist who swept to power two years ago on an activist platform to defend workers' rights, has been taking a hard line with miners and other foreign companies that have tried to lay off workers.

"It has been observed that some investors in some mining companies have found it necessary to downsize their workforce each time they are faced with operational challenges," the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Government views such actions as a violation of, and not within the spirit of the investment licence."

The government added that it was "unwarranted, unfortunate and unacceptable" for mining companies to cut jobs before consulting the government and other stakeholders.

This week Zambia revoked the work permit of the chief executive of Konkola Copper Mines, its biggest private sector employer owned by Vedanta Resources, as the latest move in a dispute over its plan to cut hundreds of jobs.   Continued...