Zambian miners killed their Chinese supervisor at the weekend over a wage dispute, following a recent minimum wage adjustment by the government.
Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda strongly condemned yesterday's killing, saying the death could have been avoided through dialogue between workers and management at the Chinese-owned Collum coal mine.
Miners there attacked three supervisors, instantly killing one of them, Wu Shengzai, by pushing a trolley on him in one of the underground shafts, and wounding the two others.
"It is very unfortunate that things have turned out this way because of the recently-adjusted minimum wages. This has to be condemned in the strongest terms. It could have been avoided through dialogue," Shamenda said.
Miners at Collum are paid a minimum salary of around $ 80 dollars, way below the new minimum wage recommended by the government
Collum mine, situated 325 kilometres south of the capital, Lusaka, has over the years been accused of exploitation and poor working conditions, putting the lives of miners at risk.
A few months ago, then-mines minister Wilbur Simuusa threatened to close down the mine if it failed to adhere to safety standards and improve salaries and other working conditions.
Miners at Collum are paid a minimum salary of around $ 80 dollars, way below the new minimum wage recommended by the government.
In 2010, Chinese managers at Collum Coal Mine shot and wounded Zambian workers who were protesting over poor salaries. But their case was withdrawn from court after compensation was paid.
The Chinese have invested more than a billion kwacha in Zambia's mines and are constructing the biggest multi-facility economic zone in Chambishi area on the copperbelt, north-west of Zambia.