(Adds company comments)
LUSAKA Jan 4 Zambian workers have downed tools
at a mine and copper processing plant belonging to Konkola
Copper Mines (KCM), a unit of Vedanta Resources, in a
dispute over the pace of wage talks, a union official said on
The stoppage at the Konkola mine in Chililabombwe in
northern Zambia began after a Dec. 31 target for completing
talks on a 2017 pay settlement passed without agreement.
"The day shift workers have not entered the plant, they are
protesting the slow pace of salary negotiations," National Union
of Mine and Allied Workers (NUMAW) trustee Jonathan Musukwa told
The company is not saying what the impact will be on
production but the workers locked the gates to block day-shift
Union sources said KCM officials were meeting the minister
of labour and the unions to try and resolve the impasse.
The company said the strike was illegal.
"KCM regrets that a handful of employees at the Konkola
underground mine in Chililabombwe have decided to go on an
illegal work stoppage demanding increases in pay," the company
said in a statement.
"This is in contravention of labour laws since wage
negotiations are still under way between management and the
unions and no dispute has been declared."
KCM said management would continue to engage the unions to
find a lasting solution to the problems the company was facing.
Chililabombwe is the largest plant operated by KCM, which
produced 168,923 tonnes of finished copper in the financial year
ended March 31, 2015.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Adrian Croft)