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Nchanga Mine (Dispute)

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to the threatened strike at the Nchanga Copper Mine in Northern Rhodesia arising from the dismissal of a clerk who is an officer of the Mineworkers' Union; and if he will make a full statement on the matter.

Early in March this year a dispute arose between the Nchanga branch of the African Mineworkers' Union and the management of Nchanga Mine over a notice of dismissal given by the management to one of their employees who was also the local treasurer of the Union. The grounds for this were that he had failed to carry out his duties properly. The Union at first alleged victimisation, and at their request a conciliator was appointed. Meetings were held on the invitation of the conciliator, between the Union and the management, and the latter made offers which were rejected. The Union later withdrew their allegation of victimisation, and since, under the terms of the agreement between the Union and the Mining Companies, conciliation is not to be invoked over individual cases unless there is an allegation of victimisation, the management refused the Union's demand for reconsideration.The Supreme Council of the Union then ordered a strike ballot at Nchanga and on 2nd April the African workers in that mine went on strike. The management were not prepared to negotiate while the strike continued, but the Acting Labour Commissioner had talks with the Union leaders.On 9th and 10th April the Governor in Council received at their request representatives of the Union, and after pointing out that the Union had not properly observed the agreement between the Union and the Mining Company in regard to the calling of a strike, had a full discussion with them. The representatives undertook to consider calling off the strike.Work was resumed at Nchanga on Monday morning. It is reported that the employee whose dismissal was the subject of the dispute is to be engaged as full-time secretary of the Nchanga branch of the Union.