More than 500 workers employed at a mine run, under concession, by a Chinese company went on strike Friday to ask for pay increases and better safety standards.
The action is the last of its kind launched after the election of Michael Sata, a president who promises to fight poverty and social injustice. The latest strike has stopped the extraction and processing of copper in a plant operated by Sino Metals.
On Tuesday, about 2000 workers went on strike in another mine run by a Chinese company, a subsidiary of Nonferrous Metals Mining Corporation.
On September 20, Sata’s election put an end to twenty-year hegemony of the Movement for Multiparty Democracy, a party which granted very favorable fiscal terms to attract foreign investment.
The new president has repeatedly stressed the need to reform the mining industry, a sector that accounts for three-quarters of Zambia’s exports but only 10% of government revenues.
While serving as opposition leader, Sata had denounced in particular the large profit margins granted to Chinese companies.
During a meeting with Beijing’s ambassador in Lusaka, a few days ago, the president said: “Your investments should bring benefits to the people of Zambia, not those of China.”