Zambia: Chinese company fires 500 workers after strike

Here is an interesting story about globalisation and labour in Africa, where Chinese companies are more and more investing, violating core labour standards and arising labour and social conflict: a Chinese copper plant in Zambia has dismissed more than 500 construction workers after they rioted and beat up Chinese workers in protest at poor wages, a company spokesperson said. It’s worth considering that Zambia has ratified more ILO core conventions about the right to organise, bargaining and strike than China.

Management at the Chambishi Copper Smelter, in Chambishi, resolved to sack the workers following two days of striking, which also led to the destruction of company property. “We have given three days to those who want to be re-employed to write to us and give reasons why they should (re-)join our company,” the spokesperson said.

On Tuesday, Zambian workers fought with Chinese workers at the smelter, resulting in two Zambians and a Chinese worker being badly injured. The fracas was stopped by riot police.

The workers also temporarily held Chinese managers hostage on Tuesday after locking gates and office doors at the R1.5billion ($200m) Chinese-owned smelter.

Workers, who staged a similar stoppage one month ago, said their monthly salaries amounted to a mere R390 a month. (Sapa, AFP)

labour standards in Zambia
labour standards in China


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